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Dino Babers’ Focus on D-Line Will be Put to the Test Early

Incoming freshmen defensive ends will have to play an early role as the Orange are thin at the position.

Yesterday, the news broke that defensive ends Qaadir Sheppard and Amir Ealey had been dismissed from the Syracuse football team. Both players were previously suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules after failing a drug test. Sheppard and Ealey each played a role on the team this past season as true freshmen. At his National Signing Day Press Conference, Babers deflected questions about the two suspended players.

Now, Syracuse is officially without the services of Sheppard and Ealey for good.. This leaves the Orange with two scholarship players on the current roster.  Babers’ first recruiting class will see three more defensive ends come to the Hill.

From the beginning, Coach Babers said that he feels the best way to begin building a team is to start with the guys in the trenches. Babers is brining in three defensive ends, among them, is Jaquwan Nelson. Babers was able to pry Nelson away from the SEC powerhouse that is Georgia.

Nelson is joined by Josh Black and Kendall Coleman as defensive ends in Syracuse’s 2016 recruiting class. They will join Jake Pickard and Kenny Carter as Syracuse’s only scholarship defensive ends. None of the five have ever played a college football game.

The logic behind brining in several guys in the trenches this year is that they need more time to develop than the skill position players. However, it sure seems like some of the guys on the defensive line will have to play a significant role right away.

It is possible that Babers knew that Sheppard and Ealey will most likely not be on the team next season when he went after several defensive ends in his 2016 class. However, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter what Babers knew and when. His logic has always been to go after the big guys in the trenches early and often and he has to be happy he has chosen to do so on the defensive side of the ball this year. The defensive line was always going to be something to watch for, but now, it is brought into even stronger focus.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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