Freshman Effect: Potential Immediate Impact from Johnson & Estime

Syracuse.com

Syracuse’s pre-season training camp is coming to a close, and  there are plenty of questions prior to opening day at MetLife Stadium against Penn State. Obviously the QB competition between Drew Allen and Terrell Hunt is the most intriguing storyline, as Scott Shafer has no problem letting the debate drag into August 31st. His exact words were “why give anyone an advantage?” What Shafer has been clear about is how impressed he is with the freshman duo of DE Isaiah Johnson and WR/DB/KR Brisly Estime.

Johnson and Estime play positions of need for Syracuse this season. In Zeke’s case, he’s competing with a slate of defensive ends that aren’t seniors and other unproven players. The only legit starters the Orange has on the ends are junior Robert Welsh and sophomore John Raymon. Eric Crume also provides some stability there. He’s been solid up the middle with DL Jay Bromley. Shafer says Welsh isn’t blessed with the tools of Chandler Jones, but knows exactly what he’s getting on a week in, week out basis. Bromley has been very vocal about his confidence in the D-ends, especially with Raymon inside. Johnson has the chance to step in and help a depleted spot on the roster.

Why should we believe Johnson can step up right away? Flashback to January as Doug Marrone bounced for Buffalo. Zeke took the initiative and did his best to keep the 2013 recruiting class intact. His conversation with The Fizz demonstrated he has the passion to be a difference maker right away:

“Somebody needed to step up and be the leader. I tried my best to get in touch with all the recruits. I have the technique and the ability to become a leader on and off the field.”

No disrespect to junior Kennedy Kodua or sophomore Donnie Simmons, or defensive newcomer Ron Thompson. But Johnson’s timing couldn’t be better to show-off his quickness on the defensive end during camp. It’s crazy to think Johnson was looked at as just another 2-star recruit hopping on the Orange bandwagon. Shafer and Chuck Bullough have their eye on this kid to play at some point into the season. SU’s favorable non-conference schedule calls for a fast start so Zeke could see time sooner rather than later.

Then there’s the versatile athlete in Estime. He was listed as a second string halfback, which came as a surprise to a lot of people. But include Estime’s rumored 4.2 40-yard dash time that we touched on back on National Signing Day. His high school head coach Chris Bean told The Fizz he expects Brisly to be used on special teams early on, and shift that blazing speed to the outside as a WR. Bean on Estime:

“Just explosiveness. He brings a dynamic to the game that coaches rarely have. And that’s a guy that can touch the football and take it to the house at any time.”

So with the wide receiver position also with unanswered questions, Estime could find time on the field early on. Syracuse has been a sloppy special teams bunch, so the young Devin Hester clone (Bean compared Estime to him) could do some damage right now. Look out.

It should be fun to watch these two climb the ladder on the depth chart, not in their sophomore or junior seasons, but in their freshman stints.

Posted: Brendan Glasheen


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  1. chris says:

    If Estime has that stated elite 40 time its going to work wonders for the team Estime possesses the vision to make that speed effective.Being able to see the seams and make the required cutsis a requirement that few elite players have in conjunction with that kind of speed. I recall Dorian Gragm who had elite speed but wasonly successful once in taking a KO all the way for a score. The rest of his returns he almost seemed to run directly into th coverage players for short returns. Vision and a quick brain are required for great return players. I think Estime has those abilities. Darius Kelly may also fit in as well giving the team a kind of ST punch they have lacked for decades.

  2. Texascuse says:

    There’s a big difference between H-back and halfback. He’s second string H-back behind Broyld which is essentially a slot receiver they plan to throw bubble screens to or pitch to while in motion.

  3. ron says:

    Latest news is Deon Hallmon will make his announcement on Monday as to where he will be playing football. The report has him coming to Syracuse.

    Wasn’t MALONE TELLING US ALL LAST WEEK THAT WE WERE HIS #1?

    let’s all hope that he does commit on Monday,to us.

  4. Terry says:

    Ron I like this Hallmon kid. A little light but the speed factor can’t hurt!! But still no OL verbals or TE either.

    Sorry Ron but Mavety is playing games again “looking” for other offers he says!! That sounds “ME” related. HCSS’s not kind of player!! I wonder if he’s a good fit for SU!! I don’t!! We need totally commited kids at SU!!

  5. ron says:

    I agree Terry,it looks like Mavety is all for himself and doesn’t display a team attitude.

    Wouldn’t it be great if Holley commited to Syracuse.

    My doctor is a BIG SYRACUSE FAN and every time I go for a visit we talk Syracuse Football. We talked a little this past week about,Syracuse not recruiting OL. His reply was that we really don’t need them because we’re already 2 deep at every position on the line. He said that we’re going to be that way for the next 3-5 years and the OL is going to be a force to be reckoned with during that time frame.

    I really hope Malone was right Terry,I hope we get Hallmon

  6. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    Everything that I’ve read about mavety is,he’s headed to Ohio St. If he keeps on dicking everyone around,he might as well finish his career at Nassau Community College. You on the money Terry everytime you say,if you don’t to be here then go somewhere’s where your going to set the bench playing the water boy position or bench warmer position.

    I think the Penn St game is looking better and better for the Orange.

  7. Terry says:

    Read an article recently about BCS hidden gems teams for BCS. 2 out of four writers said NorthWestern!! I feel that the first 2 games could mean the season for SU!! How the team and staff handle these games means alot! Also mentioned was ACC QB play FSU,Miami and Clemson will have great QB play!!! SU is now in big boy college football. A MUST is 2 wins from these 5 games to better than 6-6. I don’t want to say what would happen if SU struggles with all 5. 6-6 looks the best totally for the season. Better record would have to mean COY for HCSS!!

  8. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    I think in order for Syracuse to be successful this year,Syracuse will have to reduce the number of stupid mistakes made in a game? I believe that will be the key to having a successful season.

    Clemson(1st loss)opens up against South Carolina led by Jadeveon Clowney.
    I really don’t see Clemson in the hunt for a national championship.

    I never gave “COACH OF THE YEAR”a thought Terry. Wow,by making that statement,you might be onto something there. Coach Shafer–”2013 ACC Coach Of The Year”. It does have a nice ring to it.

  9. Ron,didn’t you see my post yesterday?I heard he was heavily leaning our way after “the other candidate” stalled him and he was announcing Monday!His D-coordinater at Cypress HS is a relative of Floyd Littles!!!I can’t see him going anywhere but here!?!I told Mademan after he posted DH was leaning RU to watch out behind the RU steering wheel “for a CRASH”LOL…

  10. Terry,I agree we have to win 3 of our 1st five OOC games and beat either PSU or NW!I think we can do some damage at Metlife and open up Holleys eyes at Gman Stadium this week!Remember their QB was playing in HS last season and we won’t let him make us his 1st victim!!DA is a MAN next to him!SU-24-PSU-16…won’t that look sweet in the NY paper’s? “Go Orange”

  11. Terry says:

    Near perfect played games are needed in the first 2 games for wins. More of that against NW I believe!!!

    Russ no matter who starts for SU their experience is limited. Even Allen has limited experience. I believe to win one or both of the first two games SU needs to throw the kitchen sink at them. Allen, some Hunt, some RB’s, some Broyd and have the “D” hang on for their lives. A very little mentioned part of SU is its ST’s play. No or hardly any talk worries me. Its either SU is fine there or ST’s has issues. Its always the first game that shows that.

    In-Laws are already laying it on us. My orange “Hardnosed Shirt”" arrived today!! Can’t wait for the game. As of now its close like PSU 23 SU 21. Supper for the winners after the game(they got great seats, rooms, parking and reservations already set) and pain for the losers for the whole year. I know I’m going against the Orange but alot of people are. HCSS and his staff will show his/their real feathers Saturday. Win or lose just play your asses off and let the chips fall where they may!!

  12. Ron,I cant find Malones post saying DH was coming here?I found a bunch like most of my own saying he was flaky and an enigma or “hard to read”?Heck,I can’t find anyone who could say with confidence where DH’s head was??I predicted here on 21 or 22 Aug he’d be coming here(after Mademan said he was leaning RU) if you’ll check back a thread or 2!!Anyway he’ll be a welcome addition(on LOI day)as no one knows where his head is but no doubting he’s talented!Why with so many offers is his rating as a low 3* only a 76?Maybe Terry could look it up and if he’s 5’11′ or 6′?

  13. Ron says:

    I apologize Russell. I thought it was Malone who told us about Hallman coming here. That’s when malone was taling about Hallmon and I thought he was talking about Hilliman coming to Syracuse. I did read the post about RU driving the bus and that they ought to look out for the crash.

    I apologize again Russell for giving the wrong person credit about Hallmon coming to Syracuse.

  14. Malone is on top of things and not wrong much but with DH you’d need to be a mindreader as he likes to toy with the fans and media but when I heard Floyd Littles cousin was a D coordinator at his HS I thought we had an edge!Heck who knows?I wouldn’t be shocked if he goes to FIU?He has too many offers but I doubt many of the 50 BCS offers are commitable or he’d be a 4*!Maybe schools are worried about his cockiness?

  15. Terry says:

    Deon Hallman 6’0″ @ 165lbs. What Hillmans first name and where from?? Rivals site is messed up today!! But the boss is out of town today. Playing around during quiet moments!!

  16. Malone says:

    I have said Hallmon is ours on a few occasions, but as anyone will tell you about him, he’s a bit flighty. Hallmon loves the attention. He will probably play games right up to the end, just to keep the spotlight on him a bit. I think Ron is right abotu the Hilliman/Hallmon mix up. No matter who said what, I think we have a good lean because there are a lot of relationships in our favor. The prime one is McD and his coach, but the Little connection can’t hurt either (Little’s nephew is Hallmon’s high school DC I think). Recruiting coordinator Eric White has been pretty vocal about a player that sounds like Hallmon and is really putting himself out there if he is not very jconfident of the way this will fall Monday.

  17. Malone says:

    For the record, I also believe that he was a heavy RU lean early on and seemed to hold out hope that their position with him would change. I think he moved up his announce date (at one point he was going to announce at the UA All American game) in part because of the Jon Hilliman commit (Terry, he’s a NJ RB from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City)and the WR Blacknall they just got a verbal from too. I think he believed that those pieces falling into place, as well as Samuel going to OSU would finally open the door up to them letting him commit. I think they are still holding out hope for a couple more high end guys (Mavety, Holley, Applefield to name a couple) and they need to save the slots for those possibilities. Witter and Hallmon are finding themselves on the outside and we should be the beneficiary of their frustrated reactions. I don’t love that they are coming to us as s second best, but if they have a chip on their shoulder as a result, that makes them better players for us. The NJ players they have are supposedly trying to work other NJ guys into coming. That could cause some of their commits to break free if they swing or flip anyone. We should be watching their efforts and the potential displeasure of their once star recruits that might feel they are about to be forgotten.

  18. Exactly the way it looks to me!I couldn’t have explained it better!Are you hearing anything on that Illin Ol man on twitter?

  19. Terry says:

    Thanks Malone!! No mention of Hilliman from Rivals(my choice) or Scout!! Seems to me he really isn’t of any interest. He’s not even NR!!

    That’s been the trouble with SU’s growth lately. SU is grabbing crumbs from other programs. SU can’t verbal its own best state players and then goes after remaining players that are borderline(but still MIGHT have potenial)in others eyes. SU has to gamble with these players until it winning ways shows players its a program on the rise. NJ is a prime spot for that. Really great quality programs will get the cherries then Rutgirls gets what is really decent after that and others(SU) pick up the remaining. Its just that SU at one time is Rutgirls now and got the remaining better talent!! But Rutgirls is growing slowing and SU is stagnent for now!!! PA was a top state for talent to, but few come SU’s way now! That might really hurt recruiting down the road. Add in OHIO to!! Its almost like the staff now and in past have a pox on NE talent!! It could hurt SU in the future!!

  20. Ron says:

    @Russell Stugots,Malone;

    Second best with 4.2 40 speed and a chip on their shoulder. I’d take that any day of the week. If things work out like Malone and Russell are talking about,I feel the door to the state of NJ will be finally opened and Syracuse starts to reap the benifits of it’s citizenry.

    Russell/Malone,I don’t have any proof of about what I’m going to say and I know Russell thinks I’m crazy here. I have a gut feeling that maybe,we haven’t heard the last from either WR Juwann Winfree or DE Kurt Holuba. Both players have been awful quiet and I think that’s it’s starting to working in our favor.

    It’s only a gut feeling and my ever lasting optimism that makes me make a statement like that.

  21. Malone says:

    Russell,
    I am hearing that he pushed his visit to the Clemson game, but that is opening up more time for other schools. I think right now our strongest comp. for him is NCState, but I still think he’s a strong Orange lean. I think 14 will be a strong class and 15 will blow up. I think with the up coming season in the books,(a successful ACC campaign, and a clear picture of what Shafer is capable of as a coach) and the IPF, nobody will have any angle on us but weather patterns.

  22. Malone says:

    Could be trouble on the Hallmon front. Eric White put out an ominous tweet tonight about how a half truth is the same as a lie. I guess we find out at 2:30 tomorrow.

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