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Syracuse football: Cooper Dawson enters transfer portal, Hayden Nelson decommits

It’s been an evening of D-line departures...

Florida State v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The changes continue for the Syracuse Orange football program.

First up, 2021 defensive end Hayden Nelson announced that he’s decommitting from SU just a day before the early signing period begins. The Wisconsin native received an offer from UCLA recently, and that’s given him enough to reconsider. Syracuse still has five defensive linemen set to sign for this class, but there’s now another spot available for more if they so choose.

And they might, based on the other news item we’re noting here. Defensive lineman Cooper Dawson has announced that he’ll enter the transfer portal.

Dawson was part of the class of 2019, and made a major impression right away with his unique commitment announcement. After redshirting in 2019, he opted out before the 2020 season began. Unfortunately, we’ll never get to see him take the field for the Orange.

With Dawson’s departure, that makes five scholarship players transferring so far this offseason — joining TE Aaron Hackett, RB Markenzy Pierre, DE Jason Muñoz and DB Cam Jonas in the portal. We wish them all the best wherever they wind up.

It’s also worth mentioning that there was some good news from Tuesday too, however. Jonathan Kingsley has announced he’s back for another year, making him the third senior to make that decision (along with Josh Black and Airon Servais). We’ve yet to hear what the other players that have an extra year of eligibility available will do, but those decisions probably come in the next month or so.

By my count, Syracuse has 73 scholarship players on the roster right now. They will be able to go over 85 this offseason given the extra years granted by the NCAA, so that could leave plenty of room for both the incoming recruiting class and potential incoming transfers.