Who saw this coming? Syracuse football recruiting has been on a hot streak that has never been seen before since Scout.com started tracking commitments in 2002. Daiquan Kelly committed to Syracuse on Sunday, capping a month that saw 10 prospects pledge Orange.
Since the aforementioned 2002 starting point, Syracuse has never had a June with this much activity. The previous high was 7 players in June during the 2012 recruiting cycle. A typical June over the last 12-plus years sees two to four players commit. Overall, Syracuse has only had one other month with double digit pledges.
That was in January of 2009, which came shortly after Doug Marrone was hired to lead the Orange after the Greg Robinson debacle. This was a special situation, however. Because of Robinson's lame duck status, the 2009 recruiting cycle was a poor one prior to Marrone's hire. Once he took over, he had to scramble to find prospects to help replenish the roster.
Marrone did a fabulous job, finding several key contributors in a short period of time. That includes 1st round NFL Draft pick Justin Pugh, current Pittsburgh Steeler Shamarko Thomas, Buffalo Bill Zack Chibane, Houston Texan Alec Lemon and others.
Marrone was hired in mid-December of 2008, and had to scramble to fill up the class. Even with that extenuating circumstance, it only tied the June 2014 activity. Previous highs were February 2004 and December 2007 which saw eight players commit to Syracuse.
This time, however, it was part of a full recruiting cycle with a coach heading into his second year. This was not a scramble as was the case during the 2009 recruiting class. The 10 commitments this June was the result of hard work by a coaching staff that identified targets at key positions and in key areas. This was the result of a strong recruiting effort that took advantage of the strengths this staff possesses.
The ability to identify with prospects, the ability to promote a family atmosphere around the program and the ability to make prospects feel wanted. Maybe most importantly, the ability to develop strong relationships with the players they recruit.
Each of the Florida prospects that have committed to Syracuse have pointed to their relationship with offensive coordinator George McDonald. New Jersey players point to tight ends coach Bobby Acosta as a primary reason Syracuse was the choice. Every single player also points to head coach Scott Shafer, who is routinely described as an energetic, honest coach who looks out for their best interests over his own program.
It could be argued, based on numbers and quality of prospects involved, that June 2014 was the best month in Syracuse recruiting over the last decade plus. Ironically, as New Jersey was a key focal point for Syracuse in the 2015 cycle, the flurry of commitments started and ended with Garden State prospects. Running back Dontae Strickland committed on June 7th, and ended with safety Daiquan Kelly.
In between those two, Syracuse landed Anthony Guidice, Evan Adams, Andrejas Duerig, Brandon Ginnetti, Shyheim Cullen, Marquise Blair, Sterling Hofrichter and Christopher Fredrick. That makes 10 commitments over 24 days.
It was a historic month for Syracuse. The class is filling up fast with only a few slots left. The month after the dead period could mean even more pledges that bring the class closer to completion. This allows Syracuse to get a head start in 2016. They already have a bunch of offers out and have hosted a few prospects for early visits as well.
Everything is positive around Syracuse recruiting right now. The month of June supports that.