Unfortunately, three key members of the class – RB Dom Timbers, LB Myles Davis and WR Jeramiah Kobena – did not qualify academically and will be heading to prep school for at least one season.
The good news is that most of the class DID qualify, and many of the players will offer valuable on-field contributions and much needed depth for this year’s team.
Here are my top 10 personal favorites in the class based on overall career potential (not necessarily who will hit the field first):
1) Max Beaulieu – DE – 6/3 240 – Fort Lauderdale, FL
A phenomenal athlete who seems destined to become SU’s next great pass rushing defensive end. Max had scholarship offers to more than 20 of the biggest and best programs in the nation. Hand’s down the gem of the class.
2) Deon Goggins – DT – 6/2 280 – Norwalk, CA
A JUCO All-American who received late interest from USC. Prototypical defensive tackle prospect. The former running back has great feet for his size and can bench press over 515 lbs. Considering his talent, experience and the fact that he satisfies a position of need, Goggins will probably have the most impact of any incoming player.
3) Marquis Spruill – LB – 6/1 220 – Fork Union, VA
Spruill was SU’s highest rated recruit in terms of “stars.” He is a bit raw, but he arrived on campus early for spring ball and showed flashes of being future playmaker. Spruill is a BIG TIME athlete with ideal size for his position and a good nose for the ball. If he can learn to play within the coaching staff’s schemes, watch out!
4) Jonny Miller – QB – 6/1 215 – Denver, CO
Miller has everything that you would look for in a QB. Size, arm strength, mobility and smarts. Throws equally well in the pocket or on the run. He was a finalist for the Under Armour AA game, and the ESPN national top 150. Competition will be plentiful at QB, but I see Miller as the best all around prospect of the group.
5) Malcolm Cater – LB – 6/1 210 – Riverhead, NY
One of the best players in the State of New York, Cater is a linebacker through and through. A super tough and aggressive athlete who loves to hit. Ultimately chose SU after flip-flopping between the Orange and Rutgers. He has overcome some personal and academic hardships on his way to arriving on campus. If he can stay eligible, he could be as good or better than any linebacker we’ve had here in the past 5 years.
6) Jeremi Wilkes – DB – 5/9 180 – Tampa, FL
Wilkes may not be in the best position to help the team right away, but looks to be a lock to have a very productive career at the ‘Cuse – possibly as a 3 year starter. He has terrific instincts and great athleticism to go along with his highly sought after Florida pedigree. If he was an inch or 2 taller, all of the big Florida schools would surely have come calling. As it is, he had offers from Florida State, Rutgers and Iowa.
7) Jerome Smith – RB – 5/11 210 – Bear, DE
Smith has one of the more impressive highlight videos of all the incoming players. He’s got a smooth running style that will translate very well to the major college level. With an excellent combination of size and speed he can make defenders miss or simply run over them with equal ease. Smith also shows good burst through the line and looks very tough to arm tackle.
8) Louiszell Alexander – OL – 6/5 315 – Santa Clara, CA
Alexander has an extremely high ceiling as a player due to his exceptional physical gifts. He has ideal size and optimal quickness to go along with a very good set of hands. Virtually every team in the PAC-10 was vying for Alexander’s services before he signed with the Orange.
9) Michael Hay – OL – 6/6 280 – Queens, NY
SU grabbed its second offensive lineman in as many years from JUCO powerhouse, Nassau Community College. Hay lacks the athleticism of Louiszell Alexander but makes up for it with his brute strength. He is a workout warrior who should add some real experience and toughness to the line. Hay’s standout performance during spring ball currently has him running with the first team according to the post-spring depth chart.
10) Jarrod West – WR – 6/3 195 – Bethlehem, PA
West was all set to join the Stanford Cardinal until he came up a bit short on his college admission exam. Stanford’s loss is Syracuse’s gain. West is a big receiver with excellent hands. He is a self described “true route runner,” who can be pretty explosive after the catch. Also a track and field standout in high school, West was clocked at 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and has a personal best of 6-9 in the high jump. Before signing with Stanford, West had offers from 26 schools, including Penn State, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.