The release of the Post-Spring depth chart is one of the only real events that we have to look forward to as football fans during the doldrums of summer...the question is, how much does it actually mean? This chart can be rendered useless come the first day of camp in August with freshmen (and fancy new transfer quarterbacks) on campus, and coaches can use them for different purposes - not only do they placate the fans, but they can be used to put some fire in the belly of an underachieving player without actually having it affect any game situations.
I always take everything on the Post-Spring depth chart with a major grain of salt, but it is fun to look at and go through, so let's obsess, shall we?
...same goes here. Jerome Smith holds on to his starting spot, followed by sidekick Prince-Tyson Gulley, and then the redshirt freshman tandem of George Morris II and Devante McFarlane. And redshirt freshmen are actually referred to as redshirt freshmen now! I appreciated the sentiment that Doug Marrone was putting forthby listing players by their academic year, but it was a real pain when trying to figure out who was staying or going, especially beyond the top few spots on the depth chart. This is a welcome change.
Expect Morris and McFarlane to get some run this season. Both are too talented to not see the field, and we'll want to keep Smith and Gulley fresh.
Clay Cleveland is listed as the starter, with Adonis Ameen Moore behind him in the number two slot. It's hard to say how much of a real fullback we'll see this year without knowing what George McDonald's full offense looks like, but I think Moore has proven that he deserves some carries as a short yardage guy, whether it's from the fullback or tailback spot.
Jarrod West is your top dog at the 'X', while Adrian Flemming beat out Chris Clark at the 'Z'. Jeremiah Kobena, Ben Lewis, Macauley Hill, and Quinta Funderburk fill in behind West, while Clark, Alvin Cornelius, Keenan Hale, and Franklin Santos are listed behind Flemming.
West was obvious, and I'm happy to see Flemming listed up here as well. He's always been a really good player in practice. Hopefully that translates to real production this year. I think Chris Clark can be dangerous in space, and I expect a solid year from Kobena. Funderburk is the big question mark here. All I heard about him last year was that he was a dominant player in practice while he sat out due to his transfer. I don't know what changed, but I have faith that this is more of a motivational thing than anything else, and he'll come along.
Ashton Broyld is listed alone at this position. He's a special flower.
From left to right, your current starting line is Sean Hickey, Rob Trudo, Macky MacPherson, Nick Robinson, and Ivan Foy. No major surprises there. Macky is the unit's rock. He's become a really reliable player and should have a very good senior year. I expect Hickey to be the next NFL-bound Orange offensive lineman. Both Trudo and Foy picked up valuable experience last year. I thought Trudo was a bit better, but both were solid for young guys. I'll be interested to see Foy moving outside. I've always thought Robinson has good upside, so seeing him in that last starting spot is great. I could see John Miller making a run there. Kyle Knapp backs up Hickey, Omari Palmer is behind Trudo, and Jason Emerich seems to be the heir apparent to Macky's center job.
Robert Welsh and Micah Robinson are starting as expected and then...ummm...Ron 'Sugar Bear' Thompson has been moved from Tight End to Defensive End. Sugar Bear, as you may remember, was one of our top recruits in his class (we beat out Michigan, among others, for his services), and was supposed to be a great athletic pass catching tight end prospect. Now, we have very little depth at this spot, hence Thompson being the back up at both defensive end spots, but it is definitely disconcerting to see someone with so much promise moved from their natural position, especially after an injury. Hopefully this isn't a reverse Max Beaulieu situation.
Eric Crume is listed at the nose with Jay Bromley next to him. Zian Jones, John Raymon, Ryan Sloan, Marcus Coleman, and Josh Manley fill out this position. We have about as much depth here as anywhere else on the team.
Marquis Spruill moves back to the middle, where he played as a sophomore, after playing outside linebacker as a junior. I liked him more as an outside guy, but this probably allows us to get the most talent on the field at once. Luke Arciniega is listed behind him, though I expect him to see plenty of time. I could see Luke getting time against more run-heavy teams, since he has almost 30 pounds on Marquis, and we've struggled with power running attacks in the past.
Cam Lynch will start at the strong side lineback while Dyshawn Davis will play on the weak side. We should get a ton of pressure from this whole unit, assuming our philosophy doesn't change much with the reshuffling of the coaching staff. Lewellyn Coker and Oliver Vigille are listed second at the outside linebacker spots.
Keon Lyn and Ri'Shard Anderson own the top slots as of now. I've long been a fan of Lyn, but if you read my stuff from the fall, you know I'm a bit shaky on Anderson, though he did have a solid second half of the season. Either way, I still think Brandon Reddish is the higher upside player, and all three will see plenty of time. Julian Whigham is the other second string corner, and he should be a solid contributor this season as well. Jaston George's name is misspelled as "Jason", so I assume that's what Scott Shafer calls him, and has never been corrected on it.
Jeremi Wilkes remains starting at free safety, with the uber-talented Durell Eskridge lining up at strong safety. Wayne Morgan slides over from corner to free safety, while Ritchy Desir will back up Eskridge.
No special teams are listed, so I am forced to assume that Syracuse will not play special teams this season. They will go for every fourth down, block every punt or kick using their base defense, and Shafer intimidate the refs into just letting them have the ball for another drive when they're supposed to kick off.