Positive signs: Syracuse officially welcomes 53rd-best recruiting class in country

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Some things have so many explanations that they become hard to explain.The move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Three bowl wins in four years. The savvy recruiting pair of 24-year-old Director of Recruiting Operations Eric White and Offensive Coordinator George McDonald. The snowball effect of one verbal commit attracting another, and so on and so forth down the line.They’re all possibilities. And whatever it was, it happened fast.Twelve months ago, Scout.com rated Syracuse’s 2013 recruiting class as the 73rd best in the country. On Wednesday — when a list of 25 players was ironed out by pens and hats in every corner of Eastern United States — Syracuse finished national signing day right outside the top 50, at No. 53.Twenty spots in a calendar year. The kind of leap that pleased Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer as he discussed the incoming class Wednesday afternoon.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s an exciting time for them,” Shafer said. “They’ve been dreaming since they were little kids to go play football at a prestigious university, and for them to sign and look their parents in the eye and say ‘I did it,’ it’s an endpoint and a start point at the same time.”The only person Shafer didn’t credit for the Orange’s recruiting success was himself, yet he was as entrenched in the process as the rest of the gang.It was a communal effort that grabbed players from as far south as Miami, and west as Chicago. It trended on Twitter on many occasions and will thrust the Orange into next season with a revamped roster.“For the most part we like to break it down by where we need positions to fill,” McDonald said, “and then we go to areas of need next, like areas that really need to be addressed.”But the Orange didn’t just fill needs. It established pipelines and brought in groups of players that will complement each other in play and personality.There’s the Chicago guys, headlined by offensive tackle Denzel Ward and rounded out by cornerback Lamar Dawson, linebacker Colton Moskal and another offensive lineman, Aaron Roberts.There’s the Florida group, strung together by quarterback Alin Edouard and encompassing wide receiver Steve Ishmael, tight end Adley Enoicy and defensive backs Cordell Hudson, Juwan Dowels and Antwan Cordy.There’s a talented pair from Philadelphia, two explosive running backs and a lot of size on the defensive line.“The class is so balanced and so good,” said Jalen Harvey, a defensive tackle who signed to SU on Wednesday. “It’s nice knowing that I’m going to get to go to battle with this group for four years, we’re going to do something big.”But what maybe makes the members of this class even more special than their rankings and 40-yard dash times is that they have already grown close. They recruited each other on Twitter and through texts, planned their official visits on the same weekends and frequently wrote in a group message with White on Facebook.They won’t all be together until they all break camp in August, but the chemistry is already palpable.“We all want everyone to see how great it’s going to be at Syracuse,” Edouard said. “That’s why we’re always talking about it with each other all the time.”The Orange started to shape the 2014 class a week after signing day last year, when No. 73 just wasn’t good enough.Now Feb. 5 — the date circled on the Syracuse football schedule for months — has come and gone, and what’s left is a group of players whose collective potential yields a brighter future in Central New York.“That’s what you do it for. You do it for a bunch of 17-, 18-year-old kids saying they want to go to Syracuse and be a part of something special up here,” McDonald said. “It’s very, very relieving and it makes it all worth it.” Comments Published on February 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesselast_img

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