Both players have had less-than-ideal careers at Syracuse, despite high expectations.
So far, the careers of senior Adonis Ameen-Moore and redshirt junior Quinta Funderburk have not met expectations. Both players were highly touted recruits out of high school. Ameen-Moore was a second team All-America selection for Rivals.com and Funderburk was recruited by Florida and Michigan before deciding to play at Arkansas. He transferred to SU when the details of the Bobby Petrino scandal surfaced. After a successful sophomore season, Jerome Smith replaced Ameen-Moore last year as the Orange’s “power” running back. He only carried the ball five times for SU last season. Funderburk also had a disappointing year, only catching three balls for Syracuse. Despite their struggles a year ago, both players can potentially play important roles in the Orange’s offense this season.
Ameen-Moore’s significance to the Orange lies in his size. He is the only Syracuse tailback weighing over 200 pounds, at 260 pounds. SU offensive coordinator George McDonald should use Ameen-Moore in short-yardage situations. In 2012, he exceled in goal-line situations for the Orange, scoring five touchdowns. With Jerome Smith entering the NFL draft, Ameen-Moore is the ideal candidate to carry the ball on third- or fourth-down and short. Clearly he will not be the feature running back for SU, but his size should be utilized. He is already turning heads in spring practice. After a team scrimmage, Scott Shafer claimed: “[Ameen-Moore] had a couple runs inside that were impressive where he was dragging guys down the field.” Ameen-Moore’s final season could be his breakout one.
Like Ameen-Moore, Funderburk has also impressed this spring. On the Orange’s spring practice depth chart, he is listed as a second receiver. This is a massive step forward after last season where he was nowhere near the top of the depth chart. Competing for time against the likes of Ashton Broyld, Brisley Estime, Jarrod West and the slew of freshman receivers SU brings in this fall will be a challenge. However, George McDonald thinks the transfer is up for it: “I think [Funderburk’s] really earned the opportunity to be a two and to compete to get more playing time.” At 6’3’’, Funderburk could establish himself as the deep threat the Orange lacked last year. Whatever this season brings, he should be some kind of contributor to this team.
Both Ameen-Moore and Funderburk should feature for SU this upcoming season, but nothing is guaranteed. It is up to them to take advantage of their opportunities.
Posted by: Connor Morrissette