Syracuse football gains 20 new faces on National Signing Day

SU Head Coach Dino Babers held a press conference on Wednesday to share his thoughts on his first National Signing Day as head coach of the Orange

Now that National Signing Day is in the books, Syracuse’s 2016 class stands at 20 signees. This doesn’t mean that Dino Babers and his staff are done searching for talent just yet. Babers said in his press conference on Wednesday they will continue to look at unsigned athletes and noted that SU will need all the able-bodied players it can get. He even joked about seeing what he could get out of the fraternities on campus.

The recruitment process was a bit challenging this year due to the coaching shift from Scott Shafer to Dino Babers. Changing head coaches in the middle of the process can really setback a program. Before Babers could dive into recruitment he first had to fill out his coaching staff.

“My philosophy has always been that it starts with the staff. And you’ve got to take your time and hire the right guys even at the sacrifice of a recruit or two in this class,” Babers stated.

Syracuse did manage to secure four of Shafer’s former recruits, including athlete Moe Neal, who was the highest ranked recruit in this whole class. Babers said that those four guys fit what he and his staff are trying to do. “Hats off to the previous staff. Those are four outstanding recruits and we are glad that they are part of our family.”

Because Babers and his staff were behind in the process this year, he stressed that the 2016 class and 2017 class should be viewed together. He said that these two classes will be the foundation of the program, and the coaches have already started working on the 2017 class.

Normally universities try to keep players from within their states, but Syracuse wasn’t able to lock down any recruits from New York State this year. Babers would have liked to get a few recruits from the area, because he knows that fans like to come to the Dome to watch players they saw play in high school. However he believes that getting an athlete just because he is from New York is not a good enough reason.

“The one thing that has always bugged me a little bit is how universities will take certain people from their state and then they never show up on the football field,” Babers stated. He noted that they are already looking at kids in New York and New Jersey for next year.

“We will be able to spend a lot more time looking. A year full of conversations, a year full of getting to know them and now with those relationships we’ll have a better opportunity to keep those 4 and 5-star [recruits] at home, those 3-stars at home that can really contribute to this program and not just show up on the roster as somebody from New York.”

While Babers believes this is a good class, he added that these recruits are 17-18 year olds and they will take time to develop and mature. “We’ve got to judge this class really two and a half years from now,” Babers said.

The biggest challenge Babers said he has is that these young 17-18 year old kids shouldn’t be thrust into action right away, but with the current state of the program a lot of them will be. However Babers noted that this might help these young players as well. He anticipates growing pains, but he thinks that being on the football field early and often will allow them to improve quicker than if they were watching from the sidelines.

Babers acknowledged that the program currently faces its fair share of problems and mentioned that it will take some time for everything to come together. But he is optimistic about the future of the program, and above all else he is excited to get back to playing ball.

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