With a recruiting class of twenty-five players, Syracuse addressed nearly all parts of both sides of the ball. Something that the Orange failed to do is to recruit a wide receiver. As a result, Ervin Philips, who played running back this past season, will transition to slot receiver.
Philips tweeted earlier this week that he is “Making this transition from RB to slot receiver”. This move reflects the lack of receivers on Syracuse’s roster going into the 2015 season. The Orange will lose three wide receivers to graduation including their top receiver from last year Jarrod West. They did not bring in any receivers in this year’s draft class.
Philips already proved that he is capable as a receiver. According to Syracuse.com, he caught fifteen passes for a total of 57 yards last season. While these numbers are far from spectacular, it is a promising sign if he is to make the jump to wide out. He had very little playing time and if he lines up in the slot as opposed to in the backfield he will get more yards per catch than he did this season.
This move may also prove to benefit Philips as much as it does the team. Where Syracuse failed to recruit a wide receiver, the Orange will add two members to the backfield for next season. Dontae Strickland and Jordan Fredericks will have the chance to get some touches out of the backfield.
Though Philips may have more experience than Strickland and Fredericks, Syracuse will probably look to the freshman as they both have a ton of potential. In all likelihood, Philips would find his touches even more limited this season because of the deep backfield.
The transition of Philips is sure to take some time but he could prove to be essential as a slot receiver. Syracuse did not recruit one wide receiver this off-season and they have to look inward to find a replacement for their leading receiver Jarrod West who graduates this year.
Posted: Logan Grossman