Rome-ing On Out: Syracuse RB Jerome Smith Declares for 2014 NFL Draft

Jerome Smith has declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. What does that mean for the Orange?

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via Town News

The hay is never in the barn, but the SU football player who lives by that adage is on his way out of Syracuse. Scott Shafer told last Friday running back Jerome Smith has declared for the 2014 NFL Draft and will not play his senior stint with the Orange.

Smith originally said earlier this month that he would remain at SU for his last year. The junior bulldozing back rushed for 840 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. The 226-lb Rome was featured as the Orange’s number one RB once again, despite George McDonald’s creative use of all the backs. Smith graduated this December but could have played another season after medically redshirting.

Per, Shafer weighed in on Smith’s big decision:

“He just felt it was his time. He’s all set to graduate, all set with school. He felt like he finished school and there wasn’t any reason to hang around anymore. He felt like he was ready.”

Rome tweeted this Friday afternoon to salute Syracuse fans:

“It’s been a pleasure Syracuse #cusenation.”

Smith looks to go out with a bang this coming Friday as Syracuse heads to Texas today for the Texas Bowl against Minnesota. If SU sticks to its strengths, Rome should be in line for a busy night in the backfield. He rushed a total of 184 times this year, averaging just over four and a half yards a carry. The Golden Gophers almost mirror a very similar playing style offensively and defensively to Syracuse. Syracuse will take its shots primarily with Smith, while Minnesota turns to hefty back David Cobb.

As for the impact Smith’s decision has in the near future, the Orange has to be disappointed. Of course Shafer is going to wish anyone who decides to declare the best, but who wouldn’t want Rome back for his final year? Smith was a big reason why Syracuse was any bit relevant overall, especially during ACC play. This one hurts also because Smith is a well-respected player in the locker room as well as a calm, collected leader. The positive influence he has on SU’s younger backs like Devante McFarlene and George Morris the II goes unnoticed too often. He will be immediately missed.

In the long term, this gives Syracuse some time to react on the recruiting front. It’s safe to say Prince-Tyson Gulley receives the lead running back duties next year. McFarlene and GMII will follow, but then it’s a small concern after this trio. Syracuse isn’t desperate for 2014 running back commits, as West Genesee’s Naesean Howard and Connecticut’s Ervin Philips are currently on board. However, the fact Smith is departing could perhaps open a door for a 3- or 4-star recruit who looks to make an immediate impact on a program.

When it’s all said and done, good for Smith for being both fair to himself and the football program. He’s done a lot for the Orange. His monster year in 2012 (1171 rushing yards) helped Syracuse reach and win the Pinstripe Bowl. Rome scored in all but four games this season, and had three two-score performances. Arguably his best outings were when Syracuse needed him most: on the road in wins against NC State, 140 yards and one TD, and Maryland, 118 yards and two TDs.

Syracuse fans, no more Rome-ing as of next season, but never forget what Smith preaches. The hay is never in the barn.

Posted by: Brendan Glasheen 

9 Comments on this Post

  1. @Brendan Glasheen;

    After rushing for over a 1000 yds in 2012 a target was put on his back and everyone knew to stop Syracuse you needed to stop Jerome Smith. He rushed for 840 yards this year,it wasn’t spectacular,as much as it was impressive. He’s a great kid and I wish him the best in the NFL.

    The one thing that I differ with you on is I don’t believe our running game is going to suffer with him leaving. George Morris 11 and Devante McFarlene will definately turn heads next season. I also believe that Prince Tyson Gulley should enter the draft after graduation in May.

    From my family to your’s have a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Years.

  2. KevMonstah

    Mixed reaction. He’s a solid clubhouse guy, and a very productive back; he has 40 less carries than last year, but if you give him those, he’s over 1000 yards again. What he wasn’t was a gamebreaker. He didn’t offer the threat of taking any carry to the endzone. And in his career, he caught 16 passes. He was a power runner, who’d get his yards if given enough carries, but I think SU’s offense works better with a more explosive RB. I don’t feel him coming back would improve his standing (unless SU did with him what BC did with Williams, and gave him the ball 95% of the time), because you know what you get with him. I wish him luck.

    I also think the running game is in good shape, because with Morris and McFarlane, they just seem to hit the holes much quicker than Smith did. I disagree in giving PTG the focus, because I think you have better primary options. I do hope SU decides to make use of passes to the RBs, because it’s a weapon they choose to ignore. The stats say they had 27 completions to the 4 RBs, and they should have more. Last year, PTG himself had 33.


  3. As much as I’m sad to see him leave, I think he finds a place on an NFL roster. At 6ft 226 lbs, he will be one of the larger backs in the NFL. If he bulks up even more and gets a bit faster – could be similar to how Brando Jacobs was with the Giants a few seasons ago. As for the returning backs – we are fine. PTG will be back, Morris and McFarlane showed they are more than capable of carrying the rock. Surprised no one mentioned Adonis Ameen-Moore? Kids was a beast last season, somewhat forgotten by the new staff after Marrone left. He is a power back that can replace some of the bruising power that we loose with Smith leaving. He had 5 td’s last season on limited carries and all but won the Pitt game for us on his own. Give the kid the rock ! ! !

  4. The problem with PTG as I see it is his endurance and penchant for injury. I doubt he can sustain the same amount of carries as Jerome The other two RBs Morris and McFarlane will need to step up.ASs for Howard and Phillips,both are being looked at in other positions . Howard looks like he might be groomed at the SS position like Shamarko was used. Phillips despite Corey Cooper’s arrival is being pointed into the slot receiver spot which to my way of thinking is redundant and a waste.Cooper is made for that position.

  5. The bigger question here is whether or not Hunt and the WR’s get better for next season. If Hunt throws the ball next yr like he did against Pitt and BC Su will be fine. We have good looking young backs to Replace Smith the question there is who will be the feature back next year Morris or Mcfarlane. With Copper, Williams, Curtis, coming in next year with some devolpment of Corneillis(sp) Estime and Broyld we could have a soild Wr crop.

  6. AJ; Your right about Hunt. He progressed tremendously and in the Pitt and BC games both Estime and West were out. I’m looking for him to blow up on the Gophers and set the table for next year.

  7. Bye Mr Smith!! I’m sure HCSS believes like I do. If you want out GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AJ I really don’t see HUNT getting any better next year. He had an opportunity and really didn’t take advantage of it. 6-6 with many blow outs is not anything to write home about. Somewhere in the 4 QB’s(including HUNT) SU has to find a player. I believe even with one of this years freshman QB’s SU would of been 6-6. But I don’t see HUNT getting any better next year!! Maybe HCSS just wasted a year by not trying the FR QB’s and he wanted to give Allen/HUNT the 1st shot!! That might hurt SU if someone else starts above HUNT next year!! After all PITT/BC are not FSU/CLEMSON or GT either and look what they did to SU with HUNT starring=BLOWOUT!!

    Do not forget the kids of PSABUSEDU!! The NCAA did!!

  8. He was misused this season, he gave 100%, he’ll get drafted provided he performs above a B- at the combine! He is passing up a chance to to :

    – win 3 bowl games in a row…’14?
    – put ’12 & ’13 together = 1,100+ yds and 11+ tds for ’14
    – career marks
    – increase draft stock- 800 & 11 tds is moderate
    – improve his blocking, catching, speed, route running
    – combine w/ PTG for 2000 yds…… ( my heart) …again, darn it

    In all, it seems rushed? Lets be quite honest, OCMcD didn’t use Jerome properly until SU had lost some games it should have won. At times, I didn’t think Smith would reach 500 yds? It wasn’t his fault… but, if he leaves early…best wishes!! What potential?

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