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Syracuse football: how recent transfers affect team depth

Much like the QB here, SU didn’t see these decisions coming.

Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

With the transfer portal now closed to any more players, Syracuse Orange fans can breathe a soft sigh of relief. After Jatius Geer and Justin Lamson both unexpectedly decided to explore other options, SU thankfully did not have any other last-minute departures (Ed. note: We hope). But where does the duo’s absence leave the team now?

The Defensive Line, which was already a bit thin in terms of experience, is now without its breakout starter from last season. As a redshirt freshman, Geer appeared in all 13 games, starting 12 at Defensive End. He tallied 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a blocked PAT in what should have been a stepping stone for Syracuse's biggest position of concern at the time. Instead, the Orange will once again turn to the youth to try and find a solution here.

Elijah Fuentes-Cundiff, Kevin Jobity Jr., and Chase Simmons are all internal options who had some playing time last year. There’s also Alabama transfer Braylen Ingraham in the mix - although he was very sparingly seen in spring camp.

Syracuse v Clemson Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

If they want to look in the portal for an instant starter, an intriguing option is Bergen Catholic alum Tywone Malone, who is one of the best DL available. Although he was lined up inside with Ole Miss, he also spent time on the edge in high school. Malone won’t be an easy get - he’s the former No. 1 DL prospect out of New Jersey and was also a dual-sport athlete for the Rebels - but after both Jayden Bellamy and Jaeden Gould came to ‘Cuse, who says the same connection can’t work a third time?

As for Lamson: he might not be the biggest immediate concern, but his loss puts the Quarterback depth in a dangerously thin spot. Garrett Shrader and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson are the only remaining scholarship QBs, with walk-on Luke MacPhail now the No. 3 option. Jacobian Morgan, who was not on the spring roster, is also in the portal.

No disrespect to MacPhail, but with how long it's been since an SU QB made it through an entire season unscathed, they need to get another body in the room asap. A pair of likely candidates are two more guys who had SU offers during their original recruitment.

Peter Delaportas was heavily pursued by Syracuse but ended up getting recruited by Boston College. He redshirted in his only season there before entering the portal, leaving his next team all four years of eligibility and a lot of untapped potential. ESPN, 247Sports and On3 all listed Delaportas as a Top-10 QB in his state and Top-40 in the country for the Class of 2022.

Tahj Bullock is another name to watch. The former Virginia Tech backup was also a ‘Cuse target before deciding to join his hometown Hokies. After two years where he only made an emergency appearance in the 2021 Pinstripe Bowl, Bullock entered his name into the portal. From the little game action we’ve seen, he projects more as the mobile type of QB that SU has targeted in recent years.

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Virginia Tech at Maryland Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

If he does go elsewhere, losing Lamson will sting - at least until we know if he plays up to his potential. At the same time, both Shrader and Del Rio-Wilson are themselves transfers who are making the most of their chances with their second program.

Regardless of your thoughts on the transfer system, this offseason has shown that SU is capable of replacing a lot of lost talent through the portal. These are just two more areas where we may see the same thing happen again.