The story popped this week that Miami (FL) running back Gus Edwards will transfer and maybe Syracuse is on his list. The Staten Island product (Tottenham High) was recruited by the Orange four years ago, had committed to SU, seemed to be one-half of an exciting package deal, and then switched to the U. These were the salad days of recruiting wars with the resurgence under Doug Marrone. While Edwards has not been a hugely productive back in South Florida, it does mark another talent nearing the end of his eligibility seeking Dino Babers as his best shot to leave college on a high note.
Edwards only ran for 290 yards and a touchdown this season. It was a strange arc for Gus. He began the season battling in a three-way RB race, had 106 yards on just 7 carries vs. FAMU, and then was banished to the bench. Granted, it was a 70-3 blowout and 74-yards for Gus the Bus came on one play where the hole opened up wider than a South Beach Party Bus.
But he averaged nearly 5 yards per carry (4.9) this season in limited work, and has always had the size to be able to punish tacklers. Edwards negative is a lack of top end speed and quickness through the hole when the space is limited. He also suffered a foot injury in 2015 that derailed his entire season, which may still be having effects on his speed. But with SU’s problems running the ball this year, Edwards would be a positive to add to the roster.
Because SU puts up such crazy numbers offensively (and that shouldn’t stop under Babers in Year 2), it would be great to see the Orange turn into a popular spot for fifth-year seniors like Edwards. Amba Etta-Tawo created the ultimate template: Come to SU and watch your offensive numbers soar, land on watch-lists, win awards, and pick up some NFL steam.
The ground game is a different beast for Babers. He didn’t utilize it much in ’16. But could it be a bigger part of the equation with better talent. The bottom line is if 5th-year seniors are eying SU to be the best landing spot for their “post graduate” football work because of the dynamic offense, that can only be a good reputation to have.