Early National Signing Day was up and down, but mostly down for SU Football. The Orange lost their number two recruit in their 2023 class in Vincent Carroll-Jackson. The high three-star defensive lineman represented an excellent pickup from the northeast region at a position of serious need. Instead, Syracuse still has a hole in the trenches and Carroll-Jackson is suiting up as a blackshirt at Nebraska.
On top of that, LaNorris Sellers is still an Orange commit (for now). The four-star quarterback is the crown jewel of this class and is actually making his decision about where he’s headed today. All the tealeaves seem to read that the Palmetto state native is flipping his pledge from ‘Cuse to South Carolina. So not ideal, losing you number one and number two recruits to bigger division one programs at the finish line.
On the flip side, the Orange flipped a prospect from Northern Illinois in Trevion Mack. Still, that may not make you feel better considering the fact that Mack’s lone power five offer was from the ‘Cuse.
Okay here’s some more good news than: SU snagged two of the best junior college prospects available in this years cycle. With Carroll-Jackson headed to the midwest and Sellers seeming to be staying home, the JUCO recruits now represent Syracuse’s top two recruits! J’ Onre Reed and Lonnie Rice are both high three-star prospects and ranked inside the top 25 for junior college players across the country.
Position – LB
Hometown – Wyncote, PA
School – Lackawanna C.C.
Measurable’s – 6’0, 220 pounds
Ranking – #11 national / #2 linebacker / #2 in Pennsylvania / 88 grade
This is an incredible pickup for SU. The Orange had a need in the second level of their defense with Mikel Jones’ impending decision to go pro. Plus, the unit was ravaged with injuries this year so more bodies in the room is a must. Based on what experts are saying, Rice could fit right into this 3-3-5 defense because of his playing style.
“The Lackawanna CC standout is listed in the 6-foot, 220-pound range, but plays above his size when it comes to rushing the passer. In addition to his 39 tackles, Rice produced 4.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 2022, when he not only showed consistent blitzing acumen in the A- and B-gaps, but also some edge-rushing feel when aligned outside. Rice pursues with conviction and closes fast, arriving with power as a striker.”
Sound familiar? It should because each of Syracuse’s linebackers really excels when it comes to blitzing so Rice should do very well in Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 scheme. This is an excellent pickup for SU out of the JUCO ranks. Rice also had offers from Kent State, FIU, and Charlotte. The defender should have three years of eligibility after completing his redshirt-freshman season this past fall.
Here’s a link to some of Rice’s highlights from his time at Lackawanna C.C.:
Position – Interior Offensive Line
Hometown – Hutchinson, KS
School – Hutchinson C.C.
Measurable’s – 6’3, 320 pounds
Ranking – #23 national / #2 interior offensive lineman / #8 in Kansas / 87 grade (247sports Composite)
Reed is another rising redshirt-sophomore who could provide an immediate impact for Syracuse. Dino Babers said the focus in this class was adding size in the trenches. SU definitely fit that mold by bringing Reed into the fold. “Big General” as he’s called is coming off an All-American season at Hutchinson Community College.
Reed was instrumental in Hutchinson C.C.’s run to the NJCAA National Championship Game in an 11-2 season. That’s why Arkansas State, Charlotte, and Georgia Southern were also after him on the recruiting trail.
According to his twitter bio, it appears that Reed will play center for Syracuse. The Orange have Carlos Vettorello and Josh Ilaoa on the roster who have logged time in the heart of the offensive line. Could Reed come in and start right away?
Syracuse also reeled in Lysander Moeolo from Navarro College. Moeolo is a top 50 JUCO recruit and the fourth best interior offensive line prospect. The Lacey, Washington native also had offers from Western Kentucky, Hawaii, and Colorado State. On top of that, Moeolo was a Nevada signee out of high school so he definitely has the pedigree to play at this level.