The Syracuse Orange football program did not have the best of 2020s. We don’t need to rehash that. Part of that struggle was lack of depth at running back after starting running back Abdul Adams and backup Jarveon Howard opted out of the season. With an early injury to Jawhar Jordan, the Orange were down to Sean Tucker at running back, which actually worked out pretty well! The problem was that when Tucker inevitably went down with knocks, the Orange were running a former running back who had been converted to wide receiver for a winnable game that they dropped.
So it wasn’t great. Why do I bring all this up? Because 2021 just got way more interesting for this position.
Running backs Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard have returned to the football team after opting out in 2020 | https://t.co/cige5vzezA— Syracuse Football (@syrfootball) February 22, 2021
Adams and Howard have been confirmed to be back participating in team activities. This is incredibly helpful for the Orange’s depth at the position, as Jordan entered the transfer portal (as did reserve Markenzy Pierre), leaving Tucker headed into camp as the most experienced of just two ball-carriers (the other being Cooper Lutz).
Do Adams and Howard come in ahead of Tucker on the depth chart? Probably not. Tucker had over 700 all purpose yards, higher than both Adams and Howard had individually in 2019.
Adams seems to slot well into the 3rd down back role as Tucker’s pass blocking left much to be desired, and Adams also potentially has the best hands of the trio. Howard appears to be the change of pace option at the moment, which will bump Lutz down to emergency duty and potential H-Back/Slot type roles in addition to special teams. Freshman Josh Hough will more than likely take a redshirt, rounding out the position group.
Overall, this is a good development for the Orange. Running back was going to be reliant on a grad transfer to fill out the depth chart in any kind of substantial way, so this is better as Adams won’t count against the scholarship limit thanks to new NCAA rules. There’s now depth, and it’s with players who know the system, which as a good as a win as the Orange could get.