In last week's slew of position changes, one of the biggest adjustments was that of junior Trey Dunkelberger, who moved from tight end to defensive end. The Syracuse Orange are obviously pretty slim on the defensive line right now, so switching Dunkelberger from a position (TE) that's minimally used by Dino Babers's system to one of need (defensive end) seemed like a no-brainer for the team. Ends up it was one for Dunk as well.
As he told Syracuse.com's Nate Mink, this was completely about playing time. New SU defensive coordinator Brian Ward approached him about the move following a morning workout. The coaching staff has said they won't switch anyone's' positions unless it's for playing time, something Dunkelberger's obviously bought into, as have others. Considering there could be five or more players ahead of him on the tight end depth chart this year, the choice to buy in seems pretty simple.
Now, of course, comes the hard part: getting himself in shape to play defensive end for Syracuse. Training to continue playing tight end, he'd tweeted his weight had gotten down to 226 in late December. Now, it's back up to 235 and needs to climb to 250 if he's going to be a legitimate contributor at D-end. He seems ready to put in the work to get to that mark and more:
"By the end of the spring I hope to have technique down, of course, get all the fundamentals down of playing defensive end and work my way up to, of course, a starter."
"Over the summer, I'm going to work on weight and strength. Once fall comes I'm coming for No. 1 and I want to play. I made the switch because I want to help the team and I'm going to do whatever it takes."
Dunkelberger will certainly be in the mix for one of the starting defensive end roles, since zero players on the current roster have taken a snap at the position at Syracuse. Along with Dunk, redshirt freshmen Jake Pickard and Kenny Carter and true frosh Kenneth Ruff are the only defensive ends in spring ball. They'll be joined in the fall by freshmen Kendall Coleman, Josh Black and Jaquwan Nelson. Delaware State transfer target Gabe Sherrod is also visiting this weekend, but his comments today indicate a "really big time" suitor is also contending for his services.