Syracuse running back Devante McFarlane has decided to leave the program, according to Syracuse.com's Stephen Bailey. McFarlane, who would have been a redshirt senior this upcoming season, finishes his three-year Orange career with 563 rushing yards and one touchdown on 5.07 yards-per-carry, in addition to 112 yards receiving.
While many predicted McFarlane could potentially experience a breakout season last year, it was quite the opposite. McFarlane initially lost the starting job to then-freshman Jordan Fredericks in a wide-open competition to start the year, before eventually being dropped further on the depth chart – behind fellow backup running back George Morris II and hybrid running back/wide receiver Ervin Phillips.
McFarlane received 21 carries across his first three games played, before running the ball just 14 times across Syracuse's next eight games (note: McFarlane was injured to start the year and missed Syracuse's season opener against Rhode Island).
McFarlane revealed in an interview with Syracuse.com's Nate Mink last fall that he battled with depression early on in his collegiate career, even considering leaving the program prior to the 2014 season. McFarlane said he would suffer frequent panic attacks and would get fatigued from even just walking up a flight of stairs. There has been no indication that McFarlane's previous bouts with depression influenced his decision to leave the program.
The Orange now have only three true running backs for spring practice: returning starter Fredericks, redshirt senior Morris II, and sophomore walk-on Jacob Hill. Hybrid athlete Dontae Strickland is also receiving playing time in the backfield, and will most likely receive more carries throughout the season. In addition, Syracuse will welcome incoming three-star running back Jo-El Shaw into the mix in a few months.