Syracuse University football coach Dino Babers continued stocking his defense for the 2021 season by receiving a verbal commitment from three-star defensive end Hayden Nelson on Monday.
The Orange also landed a verbal pledge from Rochester defensive lineman Jaelin Moss — the cousin of former SU and NFL standout pass rushers, Chandler Jones and Arthur Jones — late last week.
SU has received a total of five verbal commitments for the class of 2021, including four to join the new-look 3-3-5 defensive unit that will be implemented this season and guided by new defensive coordinator Tony White.
Nelson — a 6-foot-4, 248-pound defensive end from Brookfield Central in Wisconsin — chose SU over 16 other reported offers, including Iowa State, Central Michigan, and Bowling Green. Nelson also garnered interest from Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa, according to 247Sports.
“I also want to say thanks to all the schools that doubted me and said I can’t play at the (Power-Five) level because you fueled a fire in me,” Nelson stated as part of Monday’s social media announcement, in which he also thanked a slew of past football and community influences.
“I’m hungry and eager to prove all of you wrong,” he added. “I want to thank the entire coaching staff at Syracuse for believing in me, with that being said, I’m blessed to be able to announce my commitment to Syracuse University.”
Moss — the 6-foot-5 and 260-pound Fairport High School prospect — is not rated by the major recruiting services, and had reported offers from Sacred Heart and Stony Brook. He stated that the chance to play for the Orange and continue his family’s legacy an hour away from home was a childhood dream.
“I’ve had an offer for about a week and Syracuse was always a school I wanted to go to because of my cousins,” Moss told his hometown newspaper, the Rochester-Democrat and Chronicle, soon after committing via social media last week. “I talked to Arthur before I committed and he gave me the advice I needed.”
Syracuse had also previously secured 2021 commitments from three-star Massachusetts defensive tackle Terry Lockett, three-star Pennsylvania defensive back Malcolm Folk, and three-star Pennsylvania running back Josh Hough.
The Orange is coming off a 5-7 campaign and set to open the upcoming season Sept. 4 at Boston College in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.