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Syracuse Football Must Continue Recruiting Hard In New Jersey After Top RB Commits

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Scott Shafer Syracuse football

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange are off to their best start recruiting in years, with 10 commitments currently in hand. Among the athletes who have recently pledged to sign with the Orange is the top running back in New Jersey, Dontae Strickland.

Strickland is the first commitment the Orange have landed from New Jersey’s talented 2015 class. He is considered a 4-star prospect by 247 Sports and picked Syracuse over offers from the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the West Virginia Mountaineers, among others.

The news is a reminder of how important it is that the Orange find success recruiting in New Jersey. While the Orange have recruited Florida very well, with five of their current commitments coming from the Sunshine State, Syracuse also needs to be able to bring in the top talent in the Northeast to have long-term success. And with so much of the region’s talent hailing from New Jersey, it is not a state that the Orange can afford to ignore.

Strickland’s commitment may become the foundation of a new pipeline for Syracuse. While he is the only New Jersey recruit to commit to Scott Shafer‘s team so far this year, there is reason to believe that he may bring others with him.

One of the top defensive backs in New Jersey, Daivon Ellison, is good friends with Strickland. Ellison talked to about their relationship and the likelihood of them committing to the same school.

“Yeah, we definitely want to play together. It’s a very high percentage, like very high. We are looking for the same stuff from schools. We’ve got the same interests. We are really good friends. We just clicked and have a really good bond.”

Ellison also referenced talks with other New Jersey talents, Dwon Walker and Jordan Fox, suggesting that they may also look to play with Ellison at the next level. The Orange are recruiting both.

If Strickland’s commitment tips other dominoes Syracuse’s way, the Orange may end up putting together a recruiting class better than any they have seen in at least a decade. From there, Syracuse should be a much easier sell to future New Jersey athletes. If the Orange can find success there while maintaining their presence in Florida, Syracuse fans may eventually look back on this year’s class as the start of something big.

Dan Kelley covers ACC football for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or “Like” him on Facebook.

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Duke-Syracuse Game Preview, Prediction

Starting the season outside of the Top 25, the Duke Blue Devils were playing with a chip on their shoulder. Now that they are 7-1 on the year, no one is overlooking the darkhorse favorites to dethrone Florida State for an ACC title. The Syracuse Orange started the season 2-0, but have since lost six of seven to lead to a 3-6 record. While they aren’t a threat for the conference title, the Orange can still play spoiler.

Senior quarterback Anthony Boone has been the spark that has gotten the Blue Devils going this season. Boone has passed for 1,628 yards, 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions while rushing for another 243 yards and four touchdowns. Jamison Crowder is clearly the team’s top receiving weapon, catching 49 passes for 636 yards and four touchdowns. Max McCaffrey and Issac Blakeney have been basically equal in the receiving department, both catching 26 passes for three scores apiece while McCaffrey has 261 yards and Blakeney has 259 yards. Freshman running back Shaun Wilson has been a main reason for the team’s run success, rushing for 528 yards and four touchdowns.

Syracuse had been led by a dual-threat quarterback of its own in Terrel Hunt who had 983 passing yards and a touchdowns as well as 292 yards and six rushing scores before his injury. He hasn’t returned yet, paving way for freshman quarterback AJ Long to get the nod as the starter. Long hasn’t been very impressive, however, passing for 727 yards and four touchdowns with six interceptions. Jarrod West doesn’t care who’s behind center as he has been effective either way, catching 40 passes for 610 yards. Steve Ishmael has been the second-best wide out on the team, catching 20 passes for 311 yards and three scores. Prince-Tyson Gulley has been solid this season in the run game, leading the team with 526 yards and a touchdown while also catches 20 passes out of the backfield for 107 yards.

Defensively, the Orange have been a bit above average this season, ranking 38th in total yards allowed as well as 43rd in points allowed per contest. In their three wins this season, Syracuse has given up an average of 12 points. Before last week, Duke had done a solid job of keeping opponents out of the end zone. On the year, the Blue Devils rank 13th in points against and a lowly 81st nationally in total yards allowed.

Duke will travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange at 12:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 8. The game will be broadcasted on GamePlan/ESPN 3.

PREDICTION: Duke 23, Syracuse 21

Want to see the Blue Devils take on the Orange in week 11? Check out ScoreBig for tickets.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at

Duke will travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange in week 11. Who will come out on top?

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