On Tuesday, the Syracuse Orange football team released a roster update for 2017 spring practice. While we’re still a far cry from the regular season, it’s our first real look at the players still with the program and how the roster could shake out this fall.
It also features a number of position and uniform number updates, which are the main storylines coming out of any roster adjustment like this (especially when it comes to positional switches).
The big ones are around the positions we figured they’d be. Moe Neal moves from running back to (inside) wide receiver, where he’ll compete with fellow sophomore Sean Riley for a starting spot. Tyrone Perkins, who came to Syracuse as a running back, moves to the backfield once again and will likely be behind Dontae Strickland on the depth chart in spring.
In February, we’d taken guesses that it would be Strickland who moved to the slot, but it ended up being Neal. His speed should play a major factor right away.
Perkins, on the other hand, could be the bigger back we’ve been looking for in Dino Babers’s system. At 200 pounds, he’s more likely to move the pile than the thinner Strickland. Spring’s his audition for a larger role within this offense.
Syracuse.com’s Stephen Bailey does a great job of detailing all of the weight fluctuation around the roster, so head there for a full breakdown of the big gains (and losses around the roster).
Most notable: Eric Dungey’s up over 220 pounds, as is Zack Mahoney. The offensive linemen have all lost nine or 10 pounds at least. And McKinley Williams has put on over 40 pounds as he prepares to step up in to a larger role at defensive tackle.
As is the case each year, some players change uniform numbers in the offseason. Mid-year enrollees also get to pick their own numbers now that they’re on campus, getting first dibs over those who show up in summer.
The newcomers’ numbers: CB Devin Butler (10), TE Ravian Pierce (14), LB Nadarius Fagan (27), LB Ryan Guthrie (41), TE Jesse Conners (49), OL Patrick Davis (69) — nice.
All but one of those numbers (No. 69) was in circulation last year, and many end up doubling up rather than adding new uniform numbers to the mix. Butler’s No. 10 was worn by Mo Hasan and Sean Riley last year. Pierce and Evan Foster will don No. 14. Last year, Devon Clarke and George Morris wore No. 27, and now just Fagan does. Guthrie takes No. 41 from the graduated Eric Anthony. Alryk Perry wore No. 49 before Conners.
Returning players who switched their uniform numbers included: WR Devin Butler (5 to 13), DT Steven Clark (72 to 94), Devon Clarke (27 to 11) and Mo Hasan (10 to 11).
Some may also notice three new names — Joe Pasquale, Sean Onwualu and Emerson Womble. As Nate Mink reported last week, they were all recently added as walk-ons. Pasquale, a tight end, will wear No. 84. Defensive back Onuwalu will be No. 26. The kicker, Womble, will wear No. 90.
These changes will add even more duplicate numbers than Syracuse had beforehand, which should make for some fun bad announcer bingo as the season gets started. The lines on the Orange jersey numbers don’t always render them easily visible, which will also cause some additional confusion on top of the repetition.
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