The Syracuse Orange football program is less than two weeks from kickoff, but apparently they’re not done adding players for 2017. According to an announcement on Sunday morning, SU will bring JUCO transfer defensive end Alton Robinson aboard, effective immediately.
Robinson played the 2016 season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, and will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Orange. Last season, the 6-foot-4 245-pound end was third in the JUCO ranks with 14 sacks.
The Texas native was a two-star prospect originally, and in July appeared committed to New Mexico State. He also had offers from Kentucky, Colorado State and Oklahoma State. On his first recruitment go-around, he was a Texas A&M commit, but never enrolled due to pending criminal investigation charges. Those charges were fully dismissed on July 25, 2017.
Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack issued a statement regarding said investigation:
"We have conducted a thorough and comprehensive review of Alton's background and have received nothing but positive feedback from all who know him, including educators, academic leaders and coaches. Alton has shown deep regret and remorse for his actions and has grown as a result of the support he's had from his family, friends and coaches. At SU, Alton will be held to the same high standards that we require from all of our student-athletes and he will be provided with the support and resources to help him excel and thrive inside and outside the classroom."
SU doesn’t mention the specifics of Robinson’s criminal issue, but he was charged with robbery of an ex-girlfriend in February 2016.
With charges dismissed, however, it appears he’ll get his second chance with the Orange, who could really use some help rushing the passer. In 2016, Syracuse was among the worst teams in the country in terms of sacks, tallying just 16 total. This offseason’s JUCO additions have looked to strengthen the team’s abilities in that area, however.
Along with Robinson, SU has brought in Brandon Berry (12.5 sacks last year) and Ryan Guthrie (7.5 sacks) from the JUCO ranks. Shaq Grosvenor also arrives at defensive tackle, though he’s more of a run stopper. Both Berry and Robinson were top-10 in the nation in sacks last year. Guthrie led JUCO players in tackles for loss.
Robinson will wear no. 94, and is already in practice today. Welcome to Syracuse, Alton!