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Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Dino Babers Introduces Orange Football Class of 2017

SYRACUSE N.Y. — Before 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Head Coach Dino Babers and the Orange had locked up all 22 recruits, including Freshmen and transfers, for the 2017 season.

On the offensive side of the ball, the incoming group includes two offensive linemen, two tight ends, four wide receivers, two running backs, a fullback and the centerpiece of the new class, QB Tommy DeVito. While shying away from singling out any one recruit too much, Coach Babers had high praise for the play-caller from Ramsey, New Jersey.

“When he started this journey he was a two-star [recruit],” Babers said. “The things he did at the Elite 11, the things he did to make himself qualify for all-star games … all that stuff was done on his own…”

But it was more than his tangibles with which Babers was impressed.

“I loved his desire, I Ioved his will, I loved the chip that he had on his shoulder, that he was a lot better than everyone else evaluated him to be.”

On the defensive end, the Orange picked up four defensive linemen, four linebackers, and two defensive backs. One of those defensive backs, Ifeatu Melifonwu, finally decided to commit to the Orange, but not without some competition from other big-time schools. The University of Michigan made a pass at the Massachusetts native, but Melifonwu held true to the verbal commitment he made back in July.

With these, and many other talented, young players on their way to the Salt City, Coach Babers is very much looking toward the future.

“We’d like to take these young men and put them in the underbelly of our football program,” Babers said. “And if they can rise to the top … and can make a name for themselves, so be it. And if not, we’ll put him in the oven, we’ll bake them for a while and we’ll see them next year. But, they’re part of our family and we’re excited that they’re here”