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Syracuse football unveils 2017 spring depth chart

With spring practice starting next week, who’s currently looking like a first-teamer?

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Coinciding with the spring roster update and football prospectus releases this week, the Syracuse Orange also gave fans a glimpse at the first depth chart for 2017.

Among the big changes: Moe Neal moves to wide receiver and Tyrone Perkins heads returns to the running back spot (both detailed in the roster update). Jamal Custis gets pegged as the starting outside receiver opposite Steve Ishmael, and Devin Butler would back him up.

This depth chart differs from last year’s, which typically featured four wide receivers (two inside, two outside). At tight end, JUCO transfer Ravian Pierce is the obvious starter, with walk-on Joe Pasquale on the second team.

As Stephen Bailey pointed out above, Evan Adams is not listed at this time (potential injury issue?). Kenneth Ruff has been plugged in at defensive tackle, at least in the short term, to give the team four at that position for spring ball. At defensive end, however, the Orange are only rolling three-deep, it appears. Jake Pickard backs up both Josh Black and Kendall Coleman on the perimeter.

Elsewhere, linebackers remain unchanged, and the secondary starts to sort out a glut of experience and talent. Christopher Fredrick (came on strong late last year) and Cordell Hudson will start at the corners, with Notre Dame grad transfer Devin Butler on the second team for now. Rodney Williams and Antwan Cordy starting at the safety positions shouldn’t surprise. Scoop Bradshaw appears to have officially been switched over from safety now, however.

Shy Cullen as a kick returner is an interesting move, but one that could work out well. Cullen’s a second-team linebacker right now, and excelled on special teams last year, though was not a return man.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at our own picks for the offensive and defensive depth charts back in early February, we didn’t do half bad.

On the offensive side, we picked Strickland to switch to receiver instead of Neal, and had no insight on the potential Adams injury. But got most of the rest to some extent -- didn’t see Mike Clark coming, however.

Defensively, we had Jaquwan Nelson at one of the end spots originally (before his arrest was made public). Everything else was as expected, really. Juwan Dowels’s injury pushes Hudson ahead of him on the spring depth chart, while it makes sense to put Fredrick above Butler for the time being. That could potentially change by the end of spring (or summer).

Any other surprises from this early depth chart look? Syracuse starts up spring ball next Tuesday.