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Syracuse nose tackle Kayton Samuels will transfer from football program

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SU’s third defensive transfer creates further questions about the line.

NCAA Football: Central Connecticut State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange will be down another defensive player for the 2018. Redshirt junior nose tackle Kayton Samuels has announce that he’ll pursue a graduate transfer opportunity for his final year of eligibility.

Over the course of his career, Samuels logged 44 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He also had a fumble recovery as a redshirt freshman in 2015.

While he played in all 12 games this year, he did cede his starting role to McKinley Williams -- who had a big season with 25 tackles and four tackles for loss on his own.

As you know, this is the third transfer from the defensive side of the football this offseason, and all three players with Scott Shafer recruits. Daivon Ellison will transfer after failing to get much playing time this season and will sit a year before getting back on the field in 2019. Cordell Hudson will pursue a grad transfer opportunity as well.

The timing here may seem odd, given that most attrition after coaching change is in the first 13 months or so. But with diminishing playing time for all three players this year, it’s an understandable result doing what’s best for their respective careers.

Without Samuels, Syracuse only has a handful of defensive tackles on the roster, and couple are converted defensive ends. Chris Slayton and McKinley Williams will likely start, with Josh Black and Kenneth Ruff serving as primary back-ups. SU will also have Shaq Grosvenor and Curtis Harper to plug in there as well.

The Orange have no defensive linemen currently committed for 2018. With the extra scholarship available, that opens up some new avenues to make late pursuits in recruiting (including JUCO additions like we saw last offseason).

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Best of luck to Kayton as he finishes up his career elsewhere.