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Syracuse football: Justin Barron announces return so let’s take an early look at the Orange defensive depth chart

Never too soon to think football

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange are less than a week into the off-season, but we’re going to start thinking about 2024.

Syracuse fans got a Christmas gift when safety Justin Barron announced he’d be back for his final year. Barron provides more leadership on defense and we’ll see if he stays in a safety spot, or even plays some outside linebacker as the Orange move away from the 3-3-5 defense.

Defensive end Caleb Okechukwu will enter the 2024 NFL Draft and while we wait on official word on Marlowe Wax and others, let’s look at how The MOB might look on opening night.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Texas A&M Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive ends: Fadil Diggs is going to be on one edge. The Texas A&M transfer is going to be counted on to have a big impact in his final season. On the other end, we’ll give the nod to Denis Jaquez, Jr. as he looks to return from injury with Kevin Jobity and Chase Simmons back after playing significant snaps in 2023. KingJoseph Edwards and Caden Brown could be situational players as freshmen.

Defensive tackle: Kevon Darton and Braylen Ingraham would be the most experienced players on the inside. Elijah Funtes-Cundiff and Rashard Perry could slide inside especially to give the Orange a bit more speed on passing downs.

Linebackers: If Wax is back along with Anwar Sparrow, Derek McDonald and Stefon Thompson that could be the deepest, most experienced group on the Syracuse roster. WVU transfer James Heard could slide in at linebacker or end like Thompson. You’d still have Austin Roon, Kaden Bailey, and the incoming freshman.

Cornerback: Jayden Bellamy and Quan Peterson started the bowl game and Greg Delaine saw a lot of action late in the season. You can see why the Orange are still after corners in this recruiting cycle.

Safety: Barron and Alijah Clark have the inside track, but Buffalo transfer Devin Grant will see plenty of snaps, Even if the Orange aren’t running a 3-3-5 base defense, we’ll likely see a lot of nickel out of next year’s squad. Jaeden Gould and Jalil Martin provide depth at the position.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Which players do you see emerging before 2024 kicks off?