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 NJ.com 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.