The Syracuse Orange added 15 players to the football program during this year’s early signing period, with six of those coming on the defensive side (a number that probably seems low to those anxious to criticize our efforts late last season).
While SU still has more spots to fill between now and February — actual National Signing Day — here’s a quick rundown of who’s new on defense:
Atrilleon “Trill” Williams, CB
If you were looking for help at this position, the four-star corner’s your guy. He was a playmaker on both sides of the ball in high school, so he should bring some good hands to the secondary. Trill also possess the sort of speed needed to play corner in the Tampa-2 (something that’s questionable on the current roster, despite some better coverage abilities displayed by players like Christopher Fredrick).
Cameron Jonas, S
Jonas can play a bit of centerfield for the Orange, taking away the big plays that have long scorched SU through the passing game. It would be great to see Jonas get some time to redshirt. But with major questions at safety, there’s the chance he’s able to get some immediate playing time.
Tre Allison, LB
A quick and sure tackler, Allison’s a good fit for this scheme -- asking for speed over pass-rushing force for most of the linebackers. With linebacker experience at a minimum right now, the Texas native could work himself into the rotation. Worst-case, he redshirts and then challenges for a regular spot in 2019.
Andre Cisco, S
The other half of this class’s safety duo, Cisco has similar speed and ability to Jonas and has played in South Florida (IMG Academy). It’s no guarantee of success, but it’s certainly encouraging to see incoming players get reps against top talent at the prior level. Also, yes, still looking forward to the Sisqo jokes whenever possible.
Juan Wallace, LB
Wallace had interest from a lot of big schools, but he’ll join his IMG teammate Cisco in the Orange defense. Like the rest of SU’s recent linebacker additions, he’s slimmer and quicker on the outside, allowing him to shift into coverage more easily (a constant problem these last two seasons for Syracuse’s defense). Ideally, he’ll redshirt with a long list of young players trying to get playing time at linebacker next year.
Lakiem Williams, LB
Williams is bigger than the other linebackers and more of a pass-rusher than the others — similar to Ryan Guthrie last year in skillset. As a JUCO transfer, he’s the most likely of the defenders to get playing time. And Syracuse might rotate him between an outside linebacker and defensive end spot, depending on need.