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What does transfer Cody Roscoe bring to Syracuse’s defense?

Seems pretty likely he’s playing in 2020, so what does he do for the Orange?

McNeese State v BYU Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

With a few open scholarships available for 2020, we knew the Syracuse Orange football team was going to have some flexibility to make an another addition or two before camp got started in earnest. As we learned on Monday, one of those spots is going to McNeese State defensive end transfer Cody Roscoe.

Roscoe was a terror in three years at McNeese State, and really came into his own last year with 11 tackles for loss (nine of those were sacks). His best game of the year was against Central Arkansas, when he recorded 2.5 sacks and a pass break-up (plus five tackles overall). He’s also a force getting into passing lanes. Roscoe had six (!!!) pass break-ups against Houston Baptist last October.

Physically, Roscoe fits the general size and quickness of Syracuse edge rushers of late, though at 6-foot-1, he’s a few inches shorter than what both Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman were listed at to start last year. His 247-pound frame is makes him a slightly bulkier version of some of SU’s linebackers like Stefon Thompson or Geoff Cantin-Arku. This should give him some flexibility in the 3-3-5 scheme.

The question then, of course, becomes where he fits within said scheme. Assuming he’s playing this coming year given McNeese’s postseason ban, we should see him plugged in right away on the line. But can he start? Senior end Kingsley Johnathan figures to be locked in as one of the starters on the edge, and McKinley Williams is set in the middle. That other end role is likely Josh Black’s to lose, but there’s a possibility that Syracuse is able to utilize all four players to fill the three spots and keep fresh legs out there — plus just play to certain run or pass situations, respectively.

When you look at Roscoe’s tape, he has some great speed right when the ball snaps and there’s a real ability to shed blockers with some simple moves. He seems to take good angles at opposing pass-rushers to avoid over-pursuit, and is incredibly disruptive while going after passers as well (hence the high number of pass break-ups).

Though his size could indicate he’s in a bit of a ‘tweener role with Tyrell Richards as a D-line/linebacker hybrid, Richards may also be settling into a more traditional linebacker spot this year and the “rover” position (the “5” in the 3-3-5 scheme) is really more of a linebacker/defensive back combo. There’s ways SU may be able to alter that slightly when called upon and bring in an additional pass-rusher. But the more likely scenario would seem to indicate that Roscoe helps give ‘Cuse four starting-caliber linemen and some options they didn’t have before.

We may have to wait a month or two in order to know for certain in Roscoe’s suiting up for this year. But based on the situation, I’d say it’s more likely than not. And that could really help Syracuse not fall off too much despite losing Coleman, Robinson and Brandon Berry (the team’s top three pass-rushing linemen).