Note: This is not COVID-19 related. You're welcome.
It's the barren offseason for college football, which is the perfect time to start back up with looking at some recruiting classes!
I tried going through every ACC team last year, but my tendency to dive way too deep into these things made it so I couldn't get all the teams done before the season started.
So, instead of bringing you anything but my best I'll just start as early as I can this year!
Last year I went alphabetically, so I'll switch it up and go North to South. So, Syracuse, you are on the clock...!
ACC Rank: 10
National Rank: 59
# of Signees: 22
Average Recruit Rating: 0.8404
Top Recruit: Latarie Kinsler (0.8675, Edge, Pahokee FL)
Biggest Need: Eric Dungey 2.0
I don't think there's a program in the ACC that has a stronger direct relationship between QB play and winning than Syracuse. What Dino Baber's system is able to do to even the stoutest of defenses when it's working is nothing short of magical, just ask Bud Foster and Brent Venables. Last year, we saw what it looks like when this team fails to have the quick-thinking relationship between QB and WR that made 'Cuse so good when Dungey was at the helm of that offense. Tommy DeVito was only as good as the team around him, and just didn't seem to run that offense as vibrantly as Dungey could.
Syracuse has little depth at the QB position, so DeVito is what they got. Although DeVito's numbers were middle-of-the-pack in the ACC last season, that's not good enough for Syracuse to win at any sort of level.
The Orange(men) signed Dillon Markiewicz (0.8255) out of Texas as well as Jacobian Morgan (0.8152) out of Mississippi. Both fit the taller, pocket passer build that Babers has had success within the past, but neither look to really compete for the starting job while DeVito is there. Syracuse also has a walk-on QB commit in Luke MacPhail (79, 247Sports) out of Massachusetts.
Most Exciting Recruit: Damien Alford (0.8633), WR, Hollywood FL
Alford is a 6'5", 210lbs. WR that was targeted by Florida, Florida State, Miami, Georgia, Oklahoma, and others. He's one of the more high profile recruits that Syracuse has gotten in a while. Truthfully, I'm shocked his grade on the 247Composite isn't above 0.88.
Dino Babers has done wonders with bigger receivers in his time at Syracuse. Having a downfield threat opens up the short and intermediate routes that are the bread and butter of Babers's offense.
He can come in and instantly impact the offense. I don't see a reason why you wouldn't throw him out there to run fade routes in the end-zone. Having a guy like that can be the difference between 7 and 3 points for an offense that struggles in the close quarters of the redzone. Alford can be the matchup nightmare and gamechanger that gives the Orange a couple wins here and there.
Early Contributor: Latarie Kinsler (0.8675), Edge, Pahokee FL
The highest rated player in the 2020 class for the Orange, Kinsler gives you a dynamic pass rusher with plenty of speed. He lacks size at 6'3" and only 205lbs., but he's on campus now which should bode well for his physical development. Still, he projects more to an OLB/"Whip linebacker". Syracuse runs a similar defense to Tech's 4-2-5 with a physical nickel back/whip linebacker, he could fit in really nicely in that sort of scheme.
But truth be told, I'm not sure any of the guys in this class will really make an impact on an All-ACC Freshman Team level. The previously mentioned Damien Alford has the chance to put up some nice numbers if they decide to put him on the field, but other than that this young class may take some time to reach their full potential.
Sam's Grade: C
Syracuse is never going to make a living on the recruiting trail. But even for Syracuse's standards, this class was two or three good signings away from being what this program would internally label as a "good" recruiting haul. It looks like that surprise 10-win season didn't do too much on the recruiting trail.
There's some potential with this class. Kinsler is a dynamic athlete, and Alford can be a matchup nightmare for any defense. But, underperforming in QB recruiting is a death sentence for any ACC program. Especially Syracuse. If you want to know why Dino Babers is still at Syracuse and not being courted by a bigger program, this may be the reason why.
Syracuse – C