Happy National Signing Day! Also known as an early Christmas present to Fizz Nation and every SU football fan. Although each player holds value to this class of commits, there are plenty that rank heads above others in terms of talent, positional importance and projected longevity in CNY. Let’s unbox a few players that stand out amongst the crowd, and could make an impact as early as the 2022 season.
What is an ATH? Well, it’s an athlete, which pretty much labels Foster as a dual-threat coming into college. Of course his position will be ironed out come the spring, and all indications have him at defensive back as a part of a stingy, fast 3-3-5 defense.
Foster is a 3-star, according to 247 Sports, and what separates him from the pack is his speed and athleticism. Although his talent ceiling isn’t as high as Duce Chestnut, the Ohio native is a position-less ballhawk who works great in a Tony White scheme which puts on display a slew of athletic high flyers. Foster’s game-changing ability might be as a backup to the cornerback slot to start out, but in a couple years, his talent molds well with how the rover role is utilized.
It also helps that he’s the Orange’s top recruit in the class, and is one of two early enrollees.
Another three-star (and the other early enrollee) is a definite game changer from the jump. Mason is the typical SU linebacker that could cause trouble off the edge, on blitzes or in drop back coverage. His 6’1, 220 pound frame already places him in the upper echelon of linebackers for the Orange in terms of size and strength.
The Florida native is a strategic tackler, rarely missing that assignment in the open field. His acceleration is a scary sight and one that could mimic Mikel Jones bull rushing across the line of scrimmage. That coupled with his football IQ makes him a viable game changer from the jump. Don’t be surprised if the name Mekhi Mason is household by the end of next season, especially with Geoff Cantin-Arku entering the transfer portal and Jones’ NFL decision still in the air.
When you talk about game changers, this player could be the biggest of them all. Why? Well the Orange’s WR room is extremely thin and his entrance could provide a bit of bulk to the most important position group to fill.
Brown was a state champion in football and track, and his speed off the snap is uncanny. In fact, the Maryland native clocked in a 10.96 in the 100 meter in high school. He’s 6’3 so jump balls aren’t an issue and his presence as a kick returner (with Cooper Lutz out the door) under new special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky adds an extra hurdle that opponents have to prepare for.
The biggest question is how much he’ll be utilized in his first season. Brown’s ability speaks for itself but at 180 pounds, he might just be a taller Taj Harris, so unless his use is mainly as a deep ball threat, or even a number two behind Courtney Jackson, his play time will most likely be scarce. The only positive for the three-star wide receiver is Sharod Johnson entering the transfer portal and how much the offense is predicated around Damien Alford and Oronde Gadsden II blocking, rather than as consistent threats in the passing game.
If the Orange can reach that six win threshold, it is all thanks to the offensive line, which is why this 6’6 offensive tackle is a huge win for the Orange. Schuster weighs in at 280 and is a physical force on the line. Not many O-linemen are revered for their athleticism, but Schuster deserves that praise.
It’s not often that Syracuse ventures to Wisconsin, so it says a lot about how badly SU wanted him to don Orange. He’s great in run blocking support and even better at the second level (which is great for a dominant back like Sean Tucker). Schuster is known as a “finisher” which speaks to his ability to put opposing players on the ground and force them to the outside, rather than allowing D-lineman to establish inside position.
This offensive line is always a work in progress, but in the absence of Airon Servais, 2022 is going to be as dependent on individual talent as it usually is on leadership.
Oh, this one is a standout. When recruiting news starts to surface, it’s rare to find a “total athlete” who can both play all over the field and has the talent to do so as well. Allen embodies that sentiment and does it with speed, shiftiness and power. In fact, this three-star had offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Rutgers because of it.
He’s listed as a running back, but just as Marlowe Wax was pinned as an RB when he arrived in Central New York, it would come as no surprise if Allen found his way on the outside as a receiver or even on the other side of the ball. The New Jersey native always has a second or third move to juke past a defender and that creativity sets him apart as a potential game changer in the 315.
So whether these five names pan out as the best of the 2022 class is to be seen. But there’s no doubt that the Orange recruited plenty of incoming freshman that can play at the D1 level, and prove to the SU fanbase that their worth is more than just a name on the roster.