Syracuse football‚Äôs 2022 season is still a summer away, but coverage of the team and the ACC is beginning to pick up. ESPN noted SU‚Äôs depth at quarterback and a few other things in a preliminary Atlantic Coast review, but that‚Äôs not where the intrigue for the Orange offense ends. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae‚Äôs system appears to be integrating well with Dino Babers‚Äô philosophy and personnel, and it‚Äôs helped to give ‚ÄòCuse a little more of a known quality to its scoring unit, along with the stardom of Sean Tucker or the established skills of Garrett Shrader under center.
More importantly, Anae‚Äôs impact and establishment of SU‚Äôs skill players doesn‚Äôt appear to be lost on the recruiting trail. Exciting news emerged yesterday when Tyler Williams – a Class of ’23 4-star wide receiver from Lakeland, Florida – announced his top 10 remaining schools.
Syracuse immediately stands out in a group of college football blue-bloods, with the exception of USF and perhaps Ole Miss. However, SU being in the mix along with SEC titans, Lincoln Riley‚Äôs USC Trojans, and Clemson is no small feat. Williams‚Äô announcement should double as a positive sign for Syracuse recruiting and emphasizes the impact of SU‚Äôs overhauled offensive coaching staff.
Syracuse hasn‚Äôt nailed down a 4-star or better wide receiver commit since KJ Williams in 2014. Williams was listed as an athlete and was a receiver by trade, but failed to qualify academically prior to Fall 2014 and never played a down for SU. Prior to Williams, you have to go back to Marcus Sales in the Class of 2008 for Syracuse‚Äôs last 4-star wideout who actually played for the Orange.
Over the past couple years, Sterlin Gilbert and company never even sniffed top offensive skill talent, but Anae and company may be changing the outlook for offensive prospects. Williams advantageously hails from Florida – a state Babers picks players from frequently – and is a 4-star player for a reason. Per 247Sports, Williams stands at 6‚Äô3‚Äù, 180 pounds and is the No. 26 wide receiver in the nation. Williams also plays basketball and wants to continue doing so collegiately, and commented that the Orange were one of the only schools willing to let him play both.
SU may have to fight hard to fend off some of college football‚Äôs premier programs for Williams‚Äô attention and may end up failing, but the fact that Babers and company even got this far is a positive sign for the state of the program‚Äôs recruiting efforts. For a program that doesn‚Äôt get 4-stars all that often and has suffered through a few years of disorganized-looking offensive football, gaining ground with some of the nation‚Äôs better skill talent is a must. If ‚ÄòCuse starts hanging in with players like Williams, those issues could certainly be remedied quickly.