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Syracuse Recruiting: Breaking Down the Offensive Lineman Situation

What type of offensive linemen is Joe Adam looking for in the 2015 class and beyond?

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last few weeks, we’ve covered the roster situations for QBRBWR, and TE.

We finish off the offensive portion of this exercise today with the OL, as we dissect the committed recruits, and see what we’re looking at moving forward.

On Campus

Sean Hickey, Redshirt Senior

John Miller, True Senior

Rob Trudo, Redshirt Junior

Nick Robinson, Redshirt Junior

Ivan Foy, Redshirt Junior

Michael Lasker, True Junior

Jason Emerich, Redshirt Sophomore

Omari Palmer, Redshirt Sophomore

Jamar McGloster, Redshirt Freshman

Alex Hayes, Redshirt Freshman

Jon Burton, Redshirt Freshman

Denzel Ward, True Freshman

Aaron Roberts, True Freshman

2015 Recruits

Evan Adams, Norwalk HS, CT – Adams committed to the Orange after visiting the campus in June. He loved his trip and decided after visiting Maryland that Syracuse would be his home.

Adams’ standout trait is his strength and size, and it’s evident how overmatched his opponents are on his film. This is a kid that will flourish with a college strength and conditioning program and some technique coaching. He’s aggressive and looks like he gets a lot of enjoyment out of driving his opponents into the ground. I also think he has the most potential of all the linemen we’ve landed.

Offers – Syracuse, Maryland, UConn, UMass

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Colin Byrne, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, FL (@Colin_Byrne77) – Byrne and his teammate Sam Clausman committed the same day, along with fellow OL recruit Cody Conway. The familiarity between Byrne and Clausman is important if they continue at the same positions they played in high school and could solidify one side of the line for years to come.

Byrne is an impressive run blocker, as his mobility and ability to get to the second level is excellent. He’s pretty quick off the snap as well, and shows good technique. He also seems to be another recruit with a nasty streak, which seems to be a trend among our committed linemen.

Offers - Syracuse, Cincinnati

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Sam Clausman, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, FL (@SamClausman) – Clausman joined teammate Colin Byrne in committing to Syracuse, and as I mentioned above, it will be nice to have both of those guys anchoring one side of the line in the future. The chemistry between the two can’t be overlooked.

Clausman plays low and uses that leverage to make great blocks both off the line and at the second level. He’s very mobile and will be an excellent pulling guard, as his kick-out blocks are executed almost perfectly every time. His vision on those blocks is also great to see as he knows where his man is going to be and takes him out of the play. Sam’s tape also demonstrates his versatility, as he can play anywhere on the line.

Offers - Syracuse

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Cody Conway, Plainfield North HS, IL (@CodyConway13) – Conway joined Sam Clausman and Colin Byrne when he committed the same day as them back in May as the first three linemen in this class.

Conway seems really skinny on his tape compared to the other linemen in this class, but he uses his arms and leverage so well that his size isn’t a disadvantage. He has really long arms (Not like T-Rex armed Justin Pugh, am I right?) and uses them to pop the defender off balance early. He’s also extremely mobile and even pulls on a few occasions, which is rare for a tackle. At his height, with a redshirt season to get a bit stronger, Conway could be a monster for the Orange.

Offers - Syracuse, Illinois, Rutgers, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Nevada, Western Michigan

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Andrejas Duerig, Mount Carmel HS, IL (@AJDuerig) – Duerig was the last of the commits on the O-Line in 2015. He comes from the same high school as Donovan McNabb, and Syracuse has been active at Mount Carmel for a few years now so it’s likely Duerig was noticed on the tape of former RB recruit Matt Domer.

Duerig is another aggressive lineman who plays until the whistle and looks like he has a nasty streak, which is great because it’s not a skill you can teach. The amount of pancakes on his tape is very impressive, and his ability to pull from the guard position is encouraging. He disengages his first block well when he needs to move to the second level. He also keeps a low pad level and uses that leverage to his advantage.

Offers – Syracuse, Toledo, Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Western Michigan

Moving Forward

The offensive line has been a position that used to be one of our weakest under GERG and for a few years under Doug Marrone, but the staff has recruited very well in the last few years and it looks like it will be a strength for the considerable future. The amount of guys that are in contention for starting spots this season alone is very encouraging, and that’s even counting out guys like Kris Curtis and Kyle Knapp, promising talents whose careers were cut short due to injuries.

With the five committed linemen in this class, we’re finally getting a better roster balance at the position, as we’ve had too many walk-ons having to fill the second and third teams. It’s clear that this will be a nasty group moving forward, and run blocking will continue to be a major strength for this offensive line.

Since the jury is still out on Joe Adam as a coach, we’ll see how the OL progresses this season. And that’s not taking a shot at the guy, as I like what I’ve seen so far. He just hasn’t coached the offensive line before. It appears the players like him a lot, and I love having DIII head coaches as position coaches on our staff.

It seems like it’s far too early to predict how many linemen we’ll recruit in 2016, as there’s a lot of fluidity at the position. I could see a guy like Rob Trudo leaving early if he has a great season. One name to keep an eye on moving forward for that class however is Red Bank Catholic (NJ) OT Liam Smith (@Liam_Smith890). Smith already has visited SU, and has a great relationship with NJ recruiting ace Bobby Acosta.

It’s always been a great philosophy to build a football team from the line of scrimmage, and with Syracuse’s recruiting haul in 2015 the future looks bright.