We’re now two weeks removed from National Signing Day, and the state of Syracuse football flips the page to a new chapter. The addition of George McDonald at offensive coordinator has excited the fan base to begin dreaming about the new attack.
Let’s take a look back at the offensive additions for Syracuse by position:
The Orange notably chased after some wide receivers once Doug Marrone bounced for Buffalo, and ended up with the likes of Corey Winfield, Corey Cooper, and Brisly Estime. It makes sense that SU also added a pair of quarterbacks in Austin Wilson and Mitch Kimble since there’s much youth and uncertainty at the position. Beckett Wales is still growing as a promising tight end, but the staff brings in Tyler Provo and Aaron Batten to provide depth. And finally, four offensive linemen made the 2013 class in the wake of Justin Pugh’s departure to create competition heading into spring practice.
The key missing pieces are a void of new running backs. The hype surrounding players such as Augustus Edwards and Laray Smith was through the roof. Both players decided to sign elsewhere for the primary reason of Marrone leaving. Edwards went with Miami, while Smith went Hoosier to run track on top of football. Not adding at least one back is a concern for SU. Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson-Gulley enter their senior seasons, and after them it’s uncertain. Rome and PTG’s play in the Pinstripe Bowl undoubtedly makes the duo a big threat in the ACC, but who takes over in ’14?
Behind Smith and Tyson-Gulley, there are only a few plausible replacements. Ashton Broyld is an obvious thought, considering the versatile speedster was used last season at multiple positions, mainly wide receiver and a little running back. You could argue Adonis Ameen-Moore is strictly limited to the tank-package. Devante McFarlene is listed as a RB, but we know the staff likes to move him all over the place. The only other active roster member that we could see getting the bulk of the carries is George Morris III. He redshirted last season, and his final year in high school included 1,045 rushing yards on 145 carries, and 17 touchdowns.
The Fizz looks ahead now to the top 3 2014 feature backs Syracuse should pursue.
- Donte Williams 6’2” 212 lbs. Hillside High School, Durham, NC
A 4.4 40-yard dash shows Williams is a burner. Standing above six feet Williams is a rare specimen. He has tons of offers from top schools such as Notre Dame, Clemson, and Ohio State. However, some lower tier schools like Syracuse, North Carolina, and Minnesota are in on the Durham native. The 3-star Williams makes the top of our list since McDonald will try to reel him in with his southern connections. Cooper is a Raleigh native so there’s hope for McDonald to possibly convince Williams to play up on the Hill.
- Matt Doomer 6’0” 180 lbs. Mount Caramel High School, Chicago, IL
Doomer is another player Syracuse should go after right away. An Illinois native means there could be a Shafer connection. SU has an offer on the table. Other schools in on Doomer include Cincinnati, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, and Ohio State. The only schools, however, to offer the Windy City RB are Illinois, Northern Illinois, and the Orange. Shafer nabbed Winfield and Kimble once they committed to Northern Illinois, so we shouldn’t doubt he can convince Doomer to at least consider the Orange.
- Naesean Howard 5’11” 185 lbs. West Genesee SHS, Camillus, NY
A local product, Howard is already very high on Syracuse early in his recruitment. He has interest from Boston College, Connecticut, Nebraska, Penn State, and Utah. Buffalo and Syracuse are the only schools to offer the speedster thus far. He considers Syracuse his dream school. Howard told CNY Central back in October after receiving an SU offer was mind-blowing:
“Syracuse has been my dream school since I was younger and knowing that I have a scholarship, that I can go there if I keep my grades up, and stay healthy in football that I could play for SU football, it’s nice.”
Howard seems like the most likely candidate to commit early to the program. On top of being a Camillus native, Howard already has plenty of relations with the Syracuse area.
It’s not time to worry about the Syracuse running game, but its crucial the program looks ahead to the future. The same scenario occurred this past offseason at QB. Nassib on the way out, and it looked like Syracuse had a sure lock in ZachAllen. That obviously didn’t work out, as SU scrambled late to bring in Kimble. The experience and talent is there this season with Smith and PTG, but the ultimate pitch the SU staff can make to 2014 running backs is the chance to play right away and fill a large void.
Posted: Brendan Glasheen