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Syracuse added 13 signees to its Class of 2022 on Wednesday, along with one player from the transfer portal. All but one recruit is a 3-star player, according to 247Sports — the exception is Australian punter Maximilian von Marburg, who is unranked.
Head coach Dino Babers said the Orange are “halfway done” but have a lot more work to do. The recruiting class is small at the moment — SU had 21 recruits and three transfers for its Class of 2021.
“For us to be able to bring 12 athletes like this into Syracuse … There’s a lot of time, a lot of money invested in this, and hopefully it’ll pay off,” Babers said (a 13th was added later in the afternoon, following the conclusion of the press conference).
Babers reflects on Class of 2022 recruits
Babers said the Class of 2022 players who just signed as part of the early signing window were “basically locked in before the season was over.” Wednesday was the first of four stages, Babers explained, in addition to February’s signing day and two upcoming windows to add players from the transfer portal.
The Orange targeted certain positions, Babers said. Those appear to be defensive back — where they added five players — and offensive line, defensive line and linebacker, where they added two in each position.
“We felt comfortable with that number,” Babers said of the number of signees. “I think it gives us enough breathing room in the back-end to continue to grow this class.”
Syracuse’s recruiting class is spearheaded by 3-star running back LeQuint Allen, who Babers said had “a lot more stars and juice” than Sean Tucker. Allen was the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year. But Babers added that Allen needed to prove himself at the collegiate level, and that “we thought Sean was good too even though some other people didn’t.”
Regarding von Marburg, the punter, Babers said Syracuse needed to add another scholarship punter after evaluating the 2021 season. He said he informed SU’s current scholarship punter, James Williams, of that. Von Marburg played a form of American football in Australia and also won the U-17 Riverina Football League’s leading goal scorer award with 55 goals. Babers wasn’t concerned about von Marburg’s ability to adjust to American football, stating that they were confident after watching video of him.
On the transfer portal, Syracuse’s plethora of outgoing transfers
Babers acknowledged that with the small class and ongoing search for more recruits and players in the transfer portal, there would be an effect on SU’s spring ball. The roster’s fluidity disturbs offseason plans, but Babers said it will be similar at other schools, too.
Syracuse lost over a dozen players to the transfer portal, a significant amount of the roster’s depth. Babers did emphasize that 17 of 22 starters will return and added that a number of players who entered the portal already had Syracuse degrees. Some who transferred did so because they didn’t have sufficient playing time, he said, but he would not further address why those with playing time decided to leave.
Babers was asked how SU planned to replace the lost players, but he didn’t give a specific breakdown of how many would come from the transfer portal compared to high school recruits. He said that if SU still has experience at a certain position, then it doesn’t necessarily have to “replace a transfer portal guy with a transfer portal guy.” But position groups with younger players could benefit from a more experienced transfer portal player, he said.
“I don’t think you can just say, ‘We can take this many people from that area, from that piece of the pie, without knowing what’s going to be in there with ‘em,” Babers said. “It’s a very fluid situation; you have to kind of flow with it.”
Other notes from Babers’ press conference:
- He confirmed that running back Sean Tucker will return next season.
- The search for a new offensive coordinator is still ongoing. Babers said they were looking for a coordinator who “can score points” but did not further specify what meets SU’s criteria or provide any more details about the selection process they are using.
- When asked about new special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky, Babers said “his resume speaks for itself.” Ligashesky coached in the NFL for 12 seasons and won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Syracuse’s special teams wasn’t good enough last season and needed to be corrected immediately, Babers added. “He has a link with players — it’s not what he knows; it’s what he can get the players to know,” Babers said.
- When asked about name, image and likeness during recruiting conversations, Babers said it seldom came up. He said that “everybody that’s done exciting things here on the football field to get noticed has been rewarded with NIL,” likely a reference to players like Tucker and Josh Black, among others.
- On recruiting local players — SU had only one player from New York and two from New Jersey — Babers said it was important to him that he signed local players who would develop into leaders and stars. “We want to get guys as close as we can to us, but it’s really important that the people that we recruit … have an opportunity to play,” he said. Babers has visited local coaches but said he was disappointed that he didn’t watch a local game this year.
Plus, here’s a look at the complete list of signees:
DB Dom Foster — 6-foot-1, 175 pounds (Warren, Ohio)
DB Cornell Perry — 6-foot-1, 180 pounds (Brownstown, Mich.)
DB Quan Peterson — 6-foot-1, 175 pounds (Chester, S.C.)
DB Jeremiah Wilson — 5-foot-11, 173 pounds (Kissimmee, Fla.)
DB Bralyn Oliver (transferred from Louisville) — 6-foot-2, 195 pounds (Cornelius, N.C.)
OL Joe Cruz — 6-foot-6, 280 pounds (Holbrook, N.Y.)
OL Chad Schuster — 6-foot-6, 280 pounds (Franklin, Wisc.)
DL Belizaire Bassette II — 6-foot-2, 270 pounds (Broward, Fla.)
DL Denis Jaquez Jr. — 6-foot-4, 240 pounds (Richland, N.J.)
LB Mekhi Mason — 6-foot-2, 220 pounds (Pembroke Pines, Fla.)
LB Kadin Bailey — 6-foot-2, 200 pounds (Jefferson, Ga.)
RB LeQuint Allen — 6-foot-0, 180 pounds (Millville, N.J.)
WR Donovan Brown — 6-foot-2, 180 pounds (Montgomery Village, Md.)
P Maximilian von Marburg — 6-foot-0, 192 pounds (Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia)
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