Once upon a time Syracuse was a legitimate threat to land Chance Westry. The highly-touted 4-star prospect from Harrisburg, PA chose Auburn on Sunday, and the Orange seemed to be out of sight, out of mind. Westry is ranked 39th overall by 247Sports and 31st in the composite ranking. He becomes the 4th highest rated commit for Bruce Pearl during his tenure on the Plains.
The long, versatile game of Westry is reminiscent of so many SU stars who dominated on the wing and could play suffocating defense in the zone. The Orange offered Westry more than two years ago, and SU was very much a player for him for awhile. The Orange landed one of the coveted official visits from Westry in June, exactly one week after his trip to Auburn. He also visited LSU and Nebraska.
Geography appeared to help the Orange. It’s a 4-hour drive from Harrisburg to The Hill and he also played AAU for the NY Rens, a team that has plenty of ties to the SU program. Despite being listed by Westry in his top 10, sometime in the early fall the Orange seemed to drop to the back of the race.
In late August, multiple outlets connected Westry to the SEC. A series of analysts pegged him for LSU, and then noted New York-based recruiting insider Adam Zagoria flipped the script. On September 4th he tweeted LSU was out and Arizona State had jumped into the fray. But he added Syracuse and Auburn were “in hot pursuit.” This was the first sign Westry wouldn’t be headed to LSU and SU fans had hope.
Some have connected Westry to Kamari Lands, and that perhaps they wanted to play together. Lands de-committed in late August, and it was at this time the Orange seemed to be fading for Westry. Perhaps the two were linked. But even if they weren’t, it was at this time SU had taken a back seat.
Less than two weeks after Zagoria’s report that LSU was out, another insider pointed to Auburn with a “high confidence level.” Dushawn London, a national analyst for 247Sports, predicted Westry would choose Bruce Pearl on September 13th. London made this projection on September 17, assigning a high confidence level. Eight days later Jerry Meyer at 247 followed suit. By the end of the month Chris Fischer had also pegged Auburn as the winner of the Westry sweepstakes. Soon, it was a consensus at 247.
Between his visit to SU in mid-June and early September the Orange were left in the rearview. Even though Westry had SU’s hat on the table when he chose Auburn, Syracuse was no longer seen as a legit contender. Pearl is a fantastic recruiter. He’s charismatic and fun (he also owns significant NCAA recruiting violations). Perhaps Auburn was always bound to win the race. Syracuse kept moving and eventually landed a top 10 class for ’22 with great, versatile talent. Both programs had big victories, as Auburn got a great player and the Orange nailed down a fantastic class. It was a conclusion that began with the winds of change in late summer.