We’ve now officially entered the slow period of Syracuse sports news. Save for struggles across the board for SU men’s lacrosse and the women’s team’s title pursuit, we’re now stuck on speculating about AAU basketball and offering way-too-early predictions. On this week’s Fizz Five, we even touched on who could break out this year for the Orange once they hit the football field in September.
In the meantime, Dino Babers and company are still trying to make headway on the recruiting trail. The Orange have quietly had a solid offseason with an overhaul of their offensive coaching staff and the additions of intriguing talent. Transfers like wideout CJ Hayes and cornerback Alijah Clark have shored up a recruiting class that eventually snagged defensive lineman Francois Nolton away from a slew of prospective SEC suitors. Class of ‘23 quarterback LaNorris Sellers also added some buzz, even though he’s over a year away from hitting campus.
Syracuse accomplished all this despite a yearly lack of 4-star recruits. The Orange haven’t signed a 4-star or better recruit since Trill Williams in the Class of ‘18, which makes the potential addition of another 4-star DB all the more enticing: Class of ‘24 safety Willy Love.
Love, a 6’2” 200-pound safety out of Woodrow Wilson High School, is currently ranked as the No. 14 overall safety prospect and No. 1 overall prospect in New Jersey by 247Sports. Love has already received offers from Georgia, Ole Miss, and Penn State, along with Syracuse on April 8th.
It may sound a little silly to be talking about a recruit who’s two full seasons away from even stepping foot on campus, but there’s a couple reasons Syracuse should feel confident about its pursuit of Love. Geography, positional history, and a familial connection all play to the Orange’s advantage – not to mention a recent official visit that Love described quite positively.
SU certainly doesn’t get to cherry-pick the best talent from New York and New Jersey like it used to under Paul Pasqualoni, but the Orange have appeared to spend the effort in recent times to secure some top local talent. Per 247Sports, SU just signed two of the Top 10 prospects in New York state in OT Joe Cruz and DL Kevin Jobity Jr. Top 2021 recruit Duce Chestnut hailed from nearby Camden, New Jersey. Syracuse could certainly make the case to Love – who also hails from Camden – that playing for a Power Five team close to home among other top state recruits would be worth his time.
Position-wise, Syracuse can hang among the very best when it comes to discussing which school is “DB-U”. ‘Cuse just sent three of its Class of ‘21 defensive backs to the NFL in Andre Cisco, Trill Williams, and Ifeatu Melifonwu. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Garrett Williams has been well above average since his debut in 2020, and the aforementioned Chestnut broke onto the scene in 2021 with a great debut and solid true freshman season. Those recent successes beneath defensive passing game coordinator Nick Monroe are a recruiting boon.
Finally, the kicker for Love is that he’d be playing in Syracuse’s defensive backfield with a direct family member. Love and Duce Chestnut both hailing from Camden, NJ is no coincidence – the two are cousins. If Love eventually comes to Syracuse, he’d have a chance to play during his 2024 true freshman season with Chestnut, who would be a senior that Fall. According to Love, Chestnut has given positive reviews of his experience at SU so far.
“He [Chestnut] speaks highly of ‘Cuse and would love when he leaves for me to carry on in his footsteps.” (Willy Love to SI’s Mike McAllister, 4/11/22)
Syracuse can build on its current momentum by making a solid effort towards recruiting Love. His addition as a headliner to the Class of ‘24 would create some much-needed buzz for the future of SU football that finally seems to be trending up after a few difficult seasons.