5 Top Syracuse Orange Football Recruits
Now that the dust has settled, the Syracuse Orange 2012 recruiting class is all but finalized with the only hiccup coming with JUCO defensive lineman Mark Garrik.
Garrik tore his ACL in his final game of the season and will not sign his letter of intent until he is cleared by the Syracuse medical staff (via SB Nation).
Regardless, the Orange put together a solid class good enough for No. 53 in the nation, according to Scout.com and Syracuse found some play-makers for the team.
The full list of Syracuse recruits can be found here, but the next question is: Who should fans be watching out for?
Here are the five best players from the Syracuse class based off of overall rankings, potential upside and early impact on the field.
Just a reminder that spring practices are just over a month away!
5. Ashton Broyld Ath (New Berlin, NY)
Perhaps the most intriguing pickup in the recruiting pool is Ashton Broyld. Broyld is a 3-star recruit by ESPN and a 4-star recruit by Scout.com. He will be taking up the quarterback slot for the Orange.
Broyld has been on the Syracuse radar for awhile but needed a year at Milford Academy to get his academics in order for the University.
On the field, Broyld brings a playmaking ability not many else have as his size (6'3'', 235 pounds), makes him as big as Ron Thompson, the Orange tight end recruit.
Broyld showed his arm in high school and he will most likely be competing with Charley Loeb and Terrel Hunt (if he is off suspension) for the backup quarterback slot behind Ryan Nassib.
Broyld could be the quarterback of the future for Marrone—or he could end up lost in the quarterback shuffle—but he is already on campus with the team, a great sign for both Broyld and the Orange.
4. Myles Hilliard DT (Bedford, OH)
The 3-star recruit was snagged from Michigan State and Pitt, and can make an immediate and long-term effect on the Syracuse defensive line.
With a line that is losing so much talent in Chandler Jones and Mikhail Marinovich, Hilliard brings depth and size to the defensive tackle spot. A strong player with good run stuffing abilities, Hilliard will be called on early with the Syracuse defensive rotation.
Overall, Hilliard has the potential to be a rock on the Syracuse defensive line if given the right coaching while finding the motivation to improve.
3. Kyle Knapp OL (Portage, MI)
Knapp has great physicality, something an old-school coach like Marrone loves. Furthermore, Knapp has enough raw talent that former lineman Marrone will have plenty to work with and improve upon once Knapp gets to Syracuse.
Having depth along the offensive line is important—as seen last year when injuries tested out the depth and resolve of the line. Losing Andrew Tiller was huge, but Knapp has the potential to be just as talented, if not more so, after his freshman year.
2. Wayne Morgan S (Brooklyn, NY)
Not only did Marrone lock down his homestate of New York, but he filled a growing gap at the safety position. The Orange are looking thin with the loss of Phillip Thomas, and Shamarko Thomas will be done after this season as well.
Therefore, finding at least one explosive recruit to help in the backfield was key, and Morgan can be that guy.
Much like Phillip Thomas, Morgan has tremendous instincts and coverage skills that will prevent teams like West Virginia from throwing all over the Orange.
Morgan will probably not start next season, but he could see playing time in case of injury or nickel/dime sets if he shows his talent in summer.
1. Ron Thompson TE (Southfield, MI)
Provo was the go to option for Ryan Nassib last season right after Alec Lemon, and with Lemon scheduled to miss spring ball recovering from arm surgery, Nassib and Thompson will be pressured to get to know each other fast.
Thompson has the size (6'4'', 220 pounds), to be a great target for Nassib and has great route-running skills and hands. His problem is going to be blocking—the running attack will more than likely remain central to the Orange next season.
If Thompson can get stronger, there is a good chance he could be an opening day starter for the Orange, due to their need of playmakers in the offense.