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How Mychale Salahuddin Would Change Syracuse Football

There was no basketball for the Orange this weekend, yet it may have been one of the most important ones on the calendar for Syracuse athletics. Four-star running back Mychale Salahuddin took his official visit to the school this weekend.

Salahuddin is the fifth ranked all-purpose running back and is a top 250 overall prospect, according to 247 Sports. He decommitted from USC before the early signing period in December, and currently holds more than 40 offers, including Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. The top rated Washington D.C. product is also a high school teammate of Orange wide receiver commit Ed Hendrix.

Salahuddin said he will be making his decision on the February 7th signing day. The Orange potentially has two more running backs that could commit on that day in Akeem Dixon and Jawhar Jordan, however, neither are locks to fulfill their verbal commitments to SU after passing on the early signing period.

Despite having so many offers, (and high-profile ones at that) the race for Salahuddin’s services seem to be down to two horses: Syracuse and Pitt. But then again, didn’t we all think Zion Williamson was picking between South Carolina and Clemson? High school kids these days.

Syracuse obviously has the tradition. Heck, the pictures he posted feature him with the Heisman Trophy. However, the Orange is far, far removed from that. The names Jim Brown and Ernie Davis do not hold the same weight they once used to. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Salahuddin has the chance to awaken those ghosts of the Orange’s past and bring SU back to football greatness. Syracuse is heading in the right direction. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. Offensively, Dino Babers has reeled in a four-star quarterback and wide receiver, which is something that’s been unheard of for SU as of late. The job Babers has done on the recruiting trail has been unbelievable. There are also sure to be a few diamonds in the rough that we will discover, thanks to Syracuse’s up-tempo scheme.

Salahuddin has the chance to make a good offense not just great, but potentially elite. When Eric Dungey leaves, there will be a drop off in quarterback rushing production if Tommy DeVito takes the reins from Dungey. The missing dimension to this offense has been consistency in the ground game, and Salahuddin is the back who would drastically change that. He has a great blend of size and speed, not to mention his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Salahuddin would immediately threaten Dontae Strickland, Moe Neal and Markenzy Pierre for the starting spot, given he can pick up on the blocking schemes.

However, Salahuddin is scheduled to visit Pitt next weekend. The Panthers pitch seems to be centered around the appeal that Pitt is “Running Back U” with recent success stories like LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis and potentially James Conner. Along with that, the Panthers can, like the Orange, offer the chance to compete for the starting job from day one given the team’s struggles on the ground last year. Pitt also does not have a running back commit in its Class of 2018.

The Orange is hoping the recency bias from Salahuddin’s visits doesn’t play into his decision, but regardless, Salahuddin has the chance to drastically change the tide of the ACC and make one of these teams a potential contender for an ACC Championship down the road.

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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