The Syracuse Orange are in week 2 of their pre-season practices, so there’s plenty of time for rosters and depth charts to solidify. However, the Orange will likely be without one of their tight ends for the season after Landon Morris announced he’s entering the transfer portal.
News: Syracuse freshman TE Landon Morris has entered the transfer portal. He said that his role since arriving this spring didn't align with SU's recruiting pitch.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) August 15, 2021
"The coaches had nothing but good intentions on their part, however it didn't work out."https://t.co/e6wr9uke4c pic.twitter.com/msj0KYURoy
Any time the Orange lose a player to the portal, it’s less than stellar news. This one stings on several fronts. First and foremost, tight end depth isn’t exactly strong. Starting TE Luke Benson was seen in street clothes last practice, so Freshman Maximillian Mang was running as TE1 in the scrimmage. That left Morris competing with Steven Mahar Jr for the backup role.
Perhaps the more important critical impact is what this means for Syracuse’s playbook and recruiting. Morris had previously indicated the Orange recruited him as catch first tight end, which was promising for many fans to hear after last year’s lack of tight end involvement in the offense. If Morris is indeed leaving because the role of tight ends are block first, it’s disheartening at best, concerning at worst. The Orange don’t have an established receiving group behind Taj Harris, and if tight ends aren’t involved in the passing game schematically, it will put a ton of pressure on unproven receivers. Furthermore, the blocking of tight ends has left plenty to be desired, so it certainly feels like players are not being put in the best position to succeed.
Will this lead to a blip in recruiting? It’s always tough to say. This doesn’t look good to any recruit who may be told they can be an offensive weapon from the tight end slot, and negative recruiting is certainly a thing that happens on the trail. Regardless of what happens long term, we wish nothing but good luck to Morris.