While the NFL season is coming to a close, college football recruiting is still going strong.  If you’re Syracuse football, you appreciate the value Fran Brown is bringing with how he has attracted top players to come to play football in the Northeast.

Before the new coaching staff arrived, you have to go back to the Dick McPherson and Paul Pasqualoni days when Syracuse football used to be a recruiting machine and a big-time powerhouse in the Northeast region. But back then, recruiting rankings and star power wasn’t even a thing, and since then, the players have gotten bigger and stronger.

Syracuse Football: 4 Key Signings


Former Cheltenham High School (PA), Edge Sharlandiin Strange – 247sports.com

Sharlandiin “Zaqq” Strange (4-star commit, 2025)

No, I didn’t make a typo as Strange will be coming to Cuse, but not until 2025. Still, there are reasons to be excited about him now as he is officially Syracuse football’s first commit for next year’s class.

Besides his recruiting rankings online, Strange brings great skills and techniques for a guy who has yet to take a snap at the next level.

At 6’3″, 235 lbs., Strange may be undersized as an edge rusher and will have to bulk up the minute he hits the weight room. Part of the advantages of being a smaller edge rusher in today’s college football, however, is the ability to be super fast off the line of scrimmage.

Another plus of being smaller is having the ability to pursue the backfield much quicker when facing the up-tempo offenses we see today.

Strange already brings the speed with him, as he also brings the smartness to call the plays on the front four and be a leader in Elijah Robinson’s aggressive and fun scheme.

In this defense, you have to be able to have edge rushers who are very quick and can out-pace offensive linemen who may have 70 pounds over you.  Strange can already be a great player, and a representative of Syracuse football.

What is vital to the native Pennsylvanian is his connection and respect for Coach Brown and Robinson. Strange looks up to these two and credits them, especially Robinson whom he always knew growing up as a kid.

“Believe it or not, coach Elijah, I grew up with him,” Strange said. “He’s always been like an uncle or a big brother to me. It was just a matter of time. I was going to go where he goes regardless. Coach Fran, I went to a Monmouth camp and I dominated. That was when he was still in Georgia and I met him. Our relationship was always close.”

Former Alabama transfer DL Isaiah Hastings (99) – threads.net/itzisaiahhastings

Isaiah Hastings (Alabama transfer, 2024)

Hastings is a key interior d-lineman pickup from the Alabama Crimson Tide who just hired Kalen DeBoer from the Washington Huskies as their new head coach to replace Nick Saban.

He will factually go down as a College football “Hall of Fame” coach. Arguably, people say he’s the greatest coach of all time, and you can’t argue he is a legend.

Another thing you have to do in Coach Robinson’s defense is to be able to be a big space eater in the middle of the front four especially to stop the run.

Sacking the quarterback is something Syracuse football was able to do all day long in the previous staff’s defensive scheme, but their run defense was suspicious.

At 6’4″, 290 lbs., Hastings is one of those run-stopping prodigies that he already learned while not playing that much with the Tide.

Syracuse football wants to be known as a dominant and big rush defense to complement their already strong pass defense.

Hastings was recruited by Bama as a four-star prospect in 2022 out of Clearwater Academy International in Florida. He is originally from Toronto, Canada, and wanted to transfer closer to home.

Former Chattanooga McCallie School CB Marcellus Barnes – Michigan State.rivals.com/Marcellus Barnes Jr.

Marcellus Barnes (4-star commit, 2024)

One of the biggest recruiting victories in the 2024 class, Marcellus Barnes was won over to come to Syracuse football because of head Coach Brown. Barnes committed to the 315 over Georgia, Ole Miss, and other traditional blue-blood college football programs.

Amazingly, Barnes is another 4-star blue chip prospect who because of coach Brown’s recruiting process, can be convinced that Syracuse football could be the northeast version of Georgia, Alabama, and dare I say, Ohio State, and Michigan.

It’s even cool that he announced his commitment during the first quarter of the All-American Bowl on NBC. It shows that the era of poor recruiting in Syracuse is about to be over for the foreseeable future.

At 5’11”, 170 lbs., Barnes was recruited by Coach Brown at Georgia. Even though he took the Syracuse job, Georgia was still in the mix because of the Bulldog’s reputable assistant Will Muschamp, and head coach Kirby Smart.

However, Syracuse football won the first impression and Barnes was amazed by it.

Former Howard transfer OL Da’Metrius Weatherspoon (57) – Alex Slitz/Getty Images

Da’Metrius Weatherspoon (Howard transfer, 2024)

Syracuse football wants to run the ball as they already have made that clear. A key component to doing that successfully is looking for a big hulking lineman to be able to clear the holes for the running back to follow his blockers. At 6’7″, 335 lbs., Da’Metrius Weatherspoon did just that at Howard.

Weatherspoon has a big frame to be able to help with the run block as he is also naturally athletic for a gigantic human being.

Last season, he played for Howard, who finished 6-6 and is an HBCU school. There, he was named an HBCU All-American and made 11 starts.

If Weatherspoon was this successful at the HBCU level with his natural size, there’s no reason why he can’t be an All-ACC or an FBS All-American lineman immediately at Cuse. The big athlete is a monster and will eat up space on the o-line when matching up against an opponent’s d-lineman.

There have been many great new additions to Syracuse football so far under Head Coach Brown and his staff. Look for more players to be featured in further articles.

For another Syracuse Football story, please check out:

Syracuse Football Picks Up Great Number of Commits on National Signing Day