Syracuse’s stagnant offense is in desperate need of a spark and that spark may just come from 2015 recruit Dontae Strickland out of South Brunswick High School. Strickland, who verbally committed to Syracuse in June, may be the 73rd ranked running back in the class of 2015 but he will fit in seamlessly in the Syracuse offense.
The 6’0″, 185-pound Strickland is an athletic, power back who also has breakaway speed. His attributes mirror those of Prince-Tyson Gulley who was a major part of the Orange backfield this year. While both Strickland and Gulley run with power, Strickland is longer and lighter, which allows him to be quicker out of his cuts.
The part of Strickland’s game that may prove most beneficial to the Syracuse offense is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. As much as the Orange struggled to move the ball on the ground, the passing game faltered even more. The quarterbacks received very little help from their running backs with Prince-Tyson Gulley and Adonis Ameen-Moore combining for only 26 catches totaling 129 yards on the season. Strickland could allow the Orange to have the option to check-down to a running back when there is no receiver open downfield.
Strickland has more than just positive physical attributes that will allow him to succeed at Syracuse. He has been saying all of the right things and appears ready to take on the task of revitalizing the Syracuse offense. When asked about what he thought of the 2014 Syracuse season, Strickland said Syracuse “needs a little more offensive firepower… and I think when I get up there I can change it up a little bit”.
He went on to talk about the relationship he has already formed with quarterback A.J. Long. Strickland said that he and the freshman have been in contact and that Long “can’t wait” for Strickland to join him at Syracuse.
Long shouldn’t be the only one who is excited for Strickland’s debut with the Orange. Strickland is a player who could be the catalyst that gets Syracuse rolling offensively in the 2015 campaign.
Posted: Logan Grossman