While Syracuse was making history with a 10-win finalé to Eric Dungey’s decorated career in 2018, Orange fans kept on hearing that two former four-star transfers were bound to take the program by storm.
One of them is already gone. Trishton Jackson came to the Hill from Michigan State and pulled down an SU junior record 1,023 yards en route to signing with the Rams as an undrafted free agent. The other came from Oklahoma, and was also productive last season, but largely contributed in the shadows of Moe Neal. Now it’s Abdul Adams’ turn.
The Orange offense is hollowed out from last year, losing their leading rusher and receiver. Taj Harris projects to be Tommy DeVito’s top target, and while he has the ability to create separation, he and DeVito seem to have chemistry issues. Harris went catchless in two games, and reeled in just one catch in three other contests in 2019. The offensive line returns, but is still questionable after allowing Tommy DeVito to be sacked 44 times in 2019, most in the nation. Relying on the passing game to carry the offense downfield each and every drive might not be an option for Dino Babers.
Adams did not quite jump off the stat sheet last year, but he was bottled up behind Neal on the depth chart while Jarveon Howard poached a lot of goal line snaps. The former Sooner has the agility, speed and pass-catching ability to seamlessly take over for Neal as SU’s three-down back. He is certainly an upgrade as a blocker.
All of these traits will be at centerstage on Saturdays, but also in camp. As the heir-apparent to the starting role, the redshirt senior is expected to raise the bar for the rest of the running back room.
“He came here and it gave me a chance to see that’s a complete back,” running back Otto Zaccardo said in 2019. “He has great hands, great pass protection. He’s the total package.”
Babers also raved about Adams as a leader on the scout team in 2018 while he waited for his eligibility to kick in.
When a back like Neal, who ranks ninth in program history with 2,560 career rushing yards, graduates, fans are entitled to be apprehensive about the future of the position. But with Adams at the help, as a player and a leader, the running back room is in good hands.