Syracuse prepares to welcome 5 top 150 recruits in Class of 2015

first_img Published on February 4, 2015 at 12:19 am Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman Coming off a program-record 16-4-1 season, Syracuse is getting set to haul in a recruiting class that has five prospects ranked in the College Soccer News top 150. Here’s a brief look at all five players ahead of Wednesday’s National Signing Day.Chris Gomez — Defender — Jamison, PennsylvaniaGomez, the 18th-ranked prospect by CSN, is the likely replacement for Jordan Murrell at left back. He plays similar to the former SU defender, noting his own knack to advance into the attacking third.“My defending has improved a lot, but my attacking has always been my main attribute, going up and down the left side,” Gomez said.SU’s top prospect has put on 14 pounds since Thanksgiving and has been working strictly on his leg strength with his trainer. On his own, he emphasizes everything else, including vertical jumping to improve his heading ability.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSaid Gomez: “I feel really, really, really good about next year and being prepared.”Miles Robinson — Defender — Boston, MassachusettsThe No. 40 prospect in this year’s class, Robinson is a right center back who could start if head coach Ian McIntyre chooses to go with a four-man defense instead of a three-back, as he did this year.Similar to former SU defender Skylar Thomas, Robinson doesn’t tend to advance into the attacking third much, but said his aerial prowess is what defines his game.“I’m definitely a player who likes the ball in the air,” Robinson said. “Maybe on corners (I’ll move forward), but I probably stay more in the center position like Skylar Thomas.”Robinson noted that McIntyre was looking for him to possibly take the spot of senior Tyler Hilliard on the back line. But now that Hilliard is returning for a fifth year, Robinson said it’ll be fun looking up to a veteran defender if he comes off the bench.Austin Aviza — Goalkeeper — Medway, MassachusettsWith Matt Stith graduating and Alex Bono now playing professionally, Aviza will be one of two goalkeepers on the roster along with rising sophomore Pat Castle.Aviza is the 106th-ranked prospect in the class and said the biggest thing he took from watching Bono was how much of a leader he was on and off the field.He stands 6 feet 3 inches, he said, and added that his height makes everything “10 times easier.” His ability in the air is what he called the strongest part of his game, and it’ll be something he relies on to try and be the starter in net for SU.“Obviously I have to fight for it and earn it, but I expect to do so,” Aviza said. “But it’ll be a battle and it’ll be well-fought.”Adnan Bakalovic — Forward — Syracuse, New YorkA local product, Bakalovic said that former Orange locals Bono and Stefanos Stamoulacatos inspired him to stay close to home.Bakalovic comes in as the 137th-ranked prospect in the class and enters a group of forwards that just lost Emil Ekblom. He said it’d be tough to crack the starting lineup but thinks he can get time behind Chris Nanco and Alex Halis.Ekblom preferred receiving the ball with his back to goal, but the style that Bakalovic likes is a closer resemblance to the returning starters.“I think the best part of my game is going at defenders on the dribble,” Bakalovic said in a text. “I can either go through the middle or go through the sides to take on defenders one-on-one.”Morgan Hackworth — Midfielder — Wallingford, PennsylvaniaWhat Syracuse loses in midfielder Nick Perea and Stamoulacatos, it seems to be gaining in Hackworth.The No. 140 prospect is a center midfielder who can play either defensive or attacking roles, though he hasn’t had much experience playing with five in the midfield as SU did last year.Still, he said the reason he drew McIntyre’s attention is the same reason that he can be effective right off the bat.“I really like to get on the ball,” Hackworth said. “I’m usually that guy that’ll get it and play it off really quickly. When Ian watched me play, he really liked that about me. I also have a pretty strong voice.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img