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Syracuse football may once again be defined by defensive injuries

Someone please let us off this ride.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Things seem to be going well for Syracuse football in the early days of spring practice. But of course, there are exceptions to that — most notably the fact that injuries remain a topic of conversation...

Along with Daivon Ellison, Cordell Hudson, Juwan Dowels and Steven Clark listed above,’s Stephen Bailey also includes Jake Pickard as another player who did not participate due to injury.

This has become a far too common occurrence in the years since we joined the ACC.

Last year, the Orange lost Dowels and Antwan Cordy for the year all the way back in week two. Clark missed the last few games (and is still dealing with a health situation). Hudson, Pickard and Rodney Williams have all been hurt before. New cornerback transfer Devin M. Butler had some injury problems while at Notre Dame, too. Last August, Wayne Morgan, Devon Clarke, Evan Foster and more all sat with various ailments.

And that’s just the last 12 months.

Without the exhaustive list of every Syracuse defender who’s missed time, it’s obvious this has been a problem, and can potentially be one again this year, if the current injury list is any indication. Some of these issues are holdovers from last year (Dowels’s in particular), but some are new ones that arose during the offseason. Before we even start major contact drills, that’s at least a little worrisome.

It’s also why Dino Babers has taken to stocking up on defensive players as much as possible. Syracuse made 11 defensive additions in this year’s signing class, plus transfers in Butler and Toledo’s Jordan Martin. Last year, the team made similar adds, including De’Jon Wilson, who played defensive end.

On the current spring roster, 34 of 77 players are on the defensive side of the ball — including 15 defensive backs alone. Despite the continuous influx of defensive players, they’ll still be bringing in more.

Last year’s defensive struggles showed that SU will need as many bodies as possible to truly compete on that side of the ball. They’re on their way to pulling it together. But that gets tougher if players can’t stay on the field. Let’s hope the injury woes eventually disappear. This a bug that just won’t quit these last four years or so.