- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Syracuse’s Scott Shafer has always been a believer in competition at each position, and that has to be music to the ears of his new recruiting class as spring ball looms.

After a successful first year at the helm of the Orange, Shafer’s second go-round on the recruiting trail netted 25 players on Wednesday. It includes five wide receivers to help bolster a thin receiving corps, two dual-threat quarterbacks, and just one junior college transfer, the latter a departure from the recent past as the Orange get set for their second year in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The class is rated No. 48 by Rivals and No. 51 by Scout, a big jump from last year. KJ Williams, a 6-foot-2 wideout from Liberty High in Bethlehem, Pa., is the only four-star recruit (Rivals) in the class.

“We’ll know how good this class is in three to four years, to be quite honest with you,” Shafer said Wednesday. “On paper, it’s a good class.”

Shafer was in a bind a year ago when Doug Marrone abruptly quit in January after four years to take over as head coach of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, but Shafer scrambled well in his first year as the head guy. Syracuse finished at 7-6 and notched its third bowl victory in four years.

Terrel Hunt finished the year as the starting quarterback after outdueling Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen for the position, and Hunt finished his sophomore season on a high note. He threw a touchdown on the final play of the regular season to beat Boston College, a critical victory that propelled Syracuse into the postseason. The Orange faced Minnesota in the Texas Bowl, and Hunt scrambled 12 yards for a touchdown with 1:14 remaining to lift Syracuse to a 21-17 victory over the Golden Gophers.

Hunt’s late-season heroics have him at the head of the class heading to spring practice, but he’ll have plenty of competition come preseason camp in the summer. Four other players will challenge for the position, including freshmen standout Alin Edouard of Miami and A.J. Long of Lebanon, Tenn., both three-star recruits. Long is already enrolled.

“I’m pleased with the way Terrel has played,” Shafer said. “I just want to bring in more competition. You can’t have enough of those guys.”

The class includes six players from Florida, a testament to the ties Shafer and offensive coordinator George McDonald have to the Sunshine State. One of those recruits is Steve Ishmael of North Miami Beach High School, one of the best wide receivers in the state. He chose the Orange over Illinois, Cincinnati and Louisville and also was courted by Alabama and Miami.

The class also has six defensive backs and four linebackers.

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