Syracuse University head football coach Dino Babers added a pair of three-star linebackers to his rising 2021 recruiting class over the past weekend.
The Orange received a verbal commitment from Michigan linebacker Austin Roon on Sunday, which followed a verbal pledge from linebacker Malik Matthew of the Bronx, bringing a pair of defensive prospects to the middle of the 3-3-5 scheme expected to be implemented by new defensive coordinator Tony White.
The linebacker duo lifts the Orange to 10 total players committed in the 2021 cycle thus far and helped elevate SU to the No. 46 class in the 247Sports national rankings and No. 52 at Rivals.com.
Syracuse is coming off a 5-7 campaign and scheduled to open the upcoming season Sept. 4 at Atlantic Coast Conference foe Boston College.
Roon is a 6-foot-4 and 220-pound outside linebacker from Byron Center High School in Michigan.
He was rated as the No. 50 OLB in the 2021 class by the 247Sports composite rankings and the No. 23 prospect overall from his state.
Roon chose SU over a dozen reported FBS offers, including Buffalo, Arizona State, and his hometown runner-up, Western Michigan.
Roon’s father, Steve, played linebacker for the Broncos and was a teammate of current WMU head coach and former SU offensive coordinator, Tim Lester.
“I can’t stress how appreciative I am for the whole staff at Syracuse, since my first call with them they have treated me like family,” Roon posted to social media while announcing his intentions to join SU. “The road to this decision wasn’t the easiest but there is no destination I’d rather end up at.”
Matthew is a 6-foot-3 and 210-pound outside linebacker from Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx.
According the 247Sports composite rankings, he is the No. 89 OLB in the class and the fourth-best player overall from the state.
Matthew rejected offers from Boston College, Buffalo, Rutgers, Temple and Kent State in favor of committing to the Orange.
“It has been a long road with a lot of challenges, but I know that the road ahead will be filled with plenty more and I look forward to facing them,” Matthew posted in his announcement. “I have decided to face those challenges and accept my role as student-athlete, teammate, and family member of Syracuse University.”
Syracuse had previously secured eight verbal pledges for the class of 2021, all of which had started as or have been upgraded to three-star players on the 247Sports rating system.
Rochester native Jaelin Moss — a Fairport High School prospect who is the cousin of NFL All-Pro and recent SU graduate, Chandler Jones — is listed as the third-best player in the state and the No. 49 defensive tackle nationally in the 2021 class.
Moss was initially unranked by the major recruiting services upon his verbal commitment to SU on April 30 and had only received offers from Stony Brook and Sacred Heart.
The Orange’s 2021 class also includes Illinois tight end Landon Morris, South Carolina wide receiver Kendall Long, Georgia defensive lineman Derek McDonald, Wisconsin defensive end Hayden Nelson, Massachusetts defensive tackle Terry Lockett, and a pair of Pennsylvania prospects — defensive back Malcolm Folk and running back Josh Hough.