The Syracuse Orange football team will lose some key pieces to graduation this offseason, however this team was far from “senior-heavy.”
You know quarterback Eric Dungey departs, as do fellow veterans like Dontae Strickland, Jamal Custis, Cody Conway, Aaron Roberts and Koda Martin (among others). So who’s left? We start looking at the projected 2019 depth chart:
Quarterback: Tommy DeVito (R-So.) | Chance Amie (R-Fr.)
DeVito got extended run during 2018, including playing most of the game against Notre Dame, leading a comeback against North Carolina and closing out Florida State at the Dome. He had 525 yards passing, four touchdowns and three interceptions on just over 50 percent passing. We know he has the arm strength to really extend this passing game downfield. Accuracy will need to increase, however.
Running back: Moe Neal (Sr.) | Abdul Adams (R-Jr.)
Neal thrived as a junior, putting up 869 yards and five scores on the ground in his best rushing season at SU, while also continuing to be a capable receiving threat out of the backfield too. In the Camping World Bowl, Abdul Adams showed glimpses of being a major between-the-tackles threat, and that could change everything about this offense for the better. Both fill different roles, so one could assume they’ll see equal (and copious) action in 2019.
Outside receiver 1: Taj Harris (So.) | Cameron Jordan (R-So.)
Outside receiver 2: Trishton Jackson (R-Jr.) | Ed Hendrix (R-Fr.)
Inside receiver 1: Sean Riley (Sr.) | Sharod Johnson (R-So.)
Inside receiver 2: Nykeim Johnson (Jr.) | Russell Thompson-Bishop (R-So.)
Custis departs, but as we saw against WVU, Jackson seems like a very capable replacement on the outside. Given DeVito’s arm, we should see a lot more deep throws to both Harris and Jackson, while Dino Babers continues to find creative ways to involve both Riley and Nykeim Johnson. The second-stringers are largely young and unproven, but that was the case this year too and it worked out pretty well. Coming off injury, Ed Hendrix could end up surprising.
Tight end: Aaron Hackett (Jr.) | Chris Elmore (Jr.)
Hackett could be a dynamic, big target if the O-line can protect well — otherwise, he’ll be relegated to pass-blocking just like Ravian Pierce was for large stretches of his time at SU. Elmore’s role likely won’t change.
Left tackle: Airon Servais (R-Jr.) | Qadir White (R-Fr.)
Left guard: Dakota Davis (R-So.) | Will Froumy (R-Fr.)
Center: Sam Heckel (R-Jr.) | Andrejas Duerig (R-Sr.)
Right guard: Evan Adams (R-Sr.) | Darius Tisdale (R-So.)
Right tackle: Patrick Davis (Jr.) | Carlos Vettorello (R-Fr.)
The number of “new” names may appear a little jarring at first, but Servais, Heckel and Adams all have extensive starting experience, and really, Servais may be a slightly better fit at tackle (while also helping out at a position that replaces both starters). Both Dakota Davis and Patrick Davis have seen the field and have extensive time as reserves of late. The questions pop up in a hurry, however, if anyone gets injured given the inexperience sitting there.
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