Syracuse’s running back situation is… messy? Sure, we’ll say messy.
The Orange didn’t have all that much success running the ball this season, and the future has question marks. Just look at Scott Shafer’s leaders in rushing attempts from last year:
1. Prince-Tyson Gulley: Graduating
2. Adonis Ameen-Moore: Graduating
3. Terrel Hunt: QB coming off injury
4. AJ Long: QB Redshirted for next season
5. George Morris: 2.9 YPC
That’s a bit concerning.
Syracuse will be returning three running backs for the 2015 season while bringing in three more with the ’15 recruiting class. Within these six backs, Shafer hopes to find a solution to the situation in the backfield. Let’s see if we can find some likely candidates.
Morris didn’t have a lot of success in 2014 (see above), but to be fair there wasn’t much of a sample size. The 2015 senior managed only 101 yards on 35 carries, and never got more than 6 carries in a game. He did get more touches than any other returning running back, so there must be something Shafer sees in Morris. Could he turn some heads in 2015?
McFarlane got even less carries than Morris last season, but he took advantage of his opportunities. On only 28 carries McFarlane rushed for 169 yards; that’s 6 YPC for those of you who left your calculator at home. McFarlane will be a senior in 2015 as well, and he will get a fair shot at the starting job.
Strickland was busy last year carrying South Brunswick High School to a state title game. I normally wouldn’t give a second thought to a freshman coming into a roster with multiple seniors at his position, but Strickland has a legitimate shot to play next year. He made NJ.com’s New Jersey All-State team after running for 1179 yards and 16 touchdowns in his senior year. Strickland might not get the starting job in 2015, but he will before he leaves Syracuse.
As always, be sure to follow Orange Fizz on Twitter @OrangeFizz. We’re constantly keeping you up to date with the latest in Syracuse football and basketball.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson