SYRACUSE, New York — With a disappointing second season in the rearview mirror, Syracuse's Scott Shafer welcomed a class of 25 recruits on Wednesday and said he was happy with his staff's efforts.
The Orange signed seven defensive linemen, five offensive linemen, four defensive backs, three running backs, two linebackers, and one kicker, one tight end, one long snapper, and one quarterback.
Syracuse reached deep into Atlantic Coast Conference territory for five players, including Alabama-born Steven Clark, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman. More significantly, the Orange also inked seven from the metropolitan New York City area, and more than half the class is from the Northeast.
Former coach Doug Marrone, a Bronx native, had made the metro area a focus, and the new class indicates the Orange is doing OK.
"We wanted to make inroads in New Jersey, and we did that," Shafer said. "I felt really good about that."
One newcomer is tailback Dontae Strickland, who rushed for 1,179 yards and scored 16 touchdowns to earn player of the year honors in his New Jersey conference last fall. His recruiting highlight tape includes a punt return for a touchdown, a long run for a score, and an interception return for a TD.
"He's on the field for almost every play of every game. It's amazing," Shafer said. "He brings the whole package with where we want to go."
Also on the list is Jordan Fredericks, New York State Gatorade Player of the Year who helped Lawrence High School win three consecutive Long Island championships. As a senior, he ran for 2,158 yards and 37 touchdowns.
The Orange also inked speedy 6-foot-4 defensive back Marquise Blair of Wooster, Ohio, a diamond in the rough who wasn't rated until the Orange came calling and became a solid three-star pick on three ratings services.
By late Wednesday afternoon, Rivals (62) and 247Sports (63) had rated the Orange class at the lower end of the ACC, while Scout had Syracuse 48th.
The Orange, which lost starting quarterback Terrel Hunt to a broken calf bone halfway through last season, suffered an abnormal number of injuries to key players and dropped its final five games to finish 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the ACC.
Top 25 Class: No
Best in class: RB Dontae Strickland.
Best of the rest: DB Marquise Blair.
Late addition: DE Jake Pickard after he de-committed from Wisconsin.
One that got away: S Jay Stocker to Pittsburgh.