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Syracuse Football: Qaadir Sheppard & Amir Ealey Dismissed From Program

Syracuse enters the 2016 season with two defensive ends coming off of redshirts and three incoming freshman vying for the starting jobs.

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

During his National Signing Day press conference, Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers was asked about the status of indefinitely-suspended players Qaadir Sheppard & Amir Ealey. He was pretty coy about their status but did say he wants "every able, capable man that can play."

Apparently Sheppard and Ealey are not those capable guys. Syracuse dismissed the two defensive ends on Thursday.

Syracuse football defensive ends Amir Ealey and Qaadir Sheppard have been dismissed from the program for a violation of team policy, according to a source.

The duo were suspended in November for reportedly both failing two drug tests. Per the university's drug policy, secondary violations carry a penalty that reads a player "will be suspended from practice and competition for the number of events equaling a minimum of 50 percent of an academic year's competition regular schedule." It was expected then that their suspensions would carry over in 2016, which I suppose is true in a manner of speaking.

Sheppard played in nine games for the Orange last season, garnering a tackle and an interception. Ealey saw action in seven games, mostly in special teams situations. Their dismissal leaves the Orange paper thin on defensive end depth with only two returning players, both of whom are coming off of redshirts (Jake Pickard, Kenny Carter). They'll be joined by three incoming freshmen (Josh Black, Kendall Coleman, Jaquwan Nelson) for a starting job battle that will give the Orange a lack of experience on the ends no matter what.

The decision also has to be seen as a signal from not only Babers but also Mark Coyle that this is a new era for Syracuse Football and one that will not suffer multiple violations, regardless of how that affects the program. Coupled with the news that Naesean Howard won't get a shot to walk back on just yet and it looks like Dino's sticking with his guys from here on out.