Syracuse Orange sign 20 players on signing day
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) With a new coach in Dino Babers and a new, fast-paced offense to be installed, Syracuse signed just one quarterback on Wednesday but added power along both sides of the line among its 20 recruits.
Topping the list on offense were athlete Moe Neal, wide receiver Devin Butler, and running back Jo-El Shaw, along with quarterback Rex Culpepper, who missed his senior season in high school because of a knee injury suffered last July.
The Orange also inked four defensive linemen and four offensive linemen and three defensive backs and three linebackers but failed to land any four-star recruits. Its class was ranked 65th overall by 247 Sports and 13th out of 14 in the ACC, considered the weakest of the Power 5 conferences.
Because Babers was hired in December and got a late start, the class does not include any players from New York or New Jersey and has only two from Pennsylvania. It does include four players recruited by former head coach Scott Shafer, who was fired in November: Culpepper and S Scoop Bradshaw, who were teammates at Plant High School in Tampa, Florida; OL Sam Heckel of Waukesha (Wisconsin) West High School; and Neal, of Forestview High School in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Zachary High School (Louisiana) quarterback Lindsey Scott, who once was part of the class, committed to LSU. The three-star prospect initially committed to Syracuse in October and was the Orange's most decorated recruit after being named Gatorade Player of the Year in Louisiana. He changed his mind after Shafer was fired.
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: No.
Best in class: Moe Neal, ATH, Gastonia, N.C. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Neal was the nation's 43rd-ranked athlete in 247Sports.com's composite rankings. He scored 103 TDs in high school.
Best of the rest: DE Jaquwan Nelson. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Nelson is rated three stars and the No. 54 weak-side defensive end in the Class of 2016 by 247Sports.
Late addition: Devin Butler, who had previously committed to Maryland, decided Wednesday morning to go with the Orange. The 6-foot, 185-pound Butler also plans to join the Syracuse track and field team.
One that got away: Three-star OG Stewart Reese of Fort Pierce Central High School in Florida. The 6-foot-6, 333-pound Reese, rated the No. 19 offensive guard in the Class of 2016 by 247Sports.com's composite rankings, opted for Mississippi State of the Southeast Conference on Monday. Syracuse, Reese's other finalist, had visited him twice in the past three weeks in addition to hosting him on an official visit in mid-January.
How they'll fit in: The big story for the Orange is how quickly Babers can install his offense and who he picks to lead it. Sophomore Eric Dungey, despite at least one concussion and several other hard hits to the head last fall, succeeded Terrel Hunt after the senior starter's college career ended with a torn Achilles in the season opener. Besides newcomer Culpepper and Dungey, who missed four games with what the school called an upper-body injury, Syracuse also has Zack Mahoney and Austin Wilson.
Culpepper, Neal, and linebacker Kenneth Ruff, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, enrolled in January and will participate in spring practice.
For the full list: http://www.cuse.com/
AP College Football Website: www.collegefootball.ap.org