Well, that didn’t go as planned.
Defensive tackle Wayne Williams’ Syracuse career came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when the University announced that Williams would no longer be a member of the football program. A senior who was almost guaranteed significant playing time, Williams’ time on the Hill was marred by off-field issues.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, he has immense size that was tantalizing for SU fans. However, he never was able to put that size to good use. Before arriving in Syracuse, Williams was lauded as an athletic freak, but only played in five games last year after injuring himself.
Williams was originally committed to the Orange, but didn’t qualify academically. After spending two years at junior college, Williams finally made his long-awaited debut last season, but reported to campus overweight. This was just one of many issues, as the coaches called him lazy and questioned his desire to play the game. He intends to transfer before his senior year.
So, what does this mean for the Orange? Well, considering defensive tackle is one of the weakest positions on the depth chart, it means a lot. In fact, Williams was just one of two players listed on the depth chart that had in-game experience. The other is John Raymon, a player with a complicated past and a compelling story.
This will place a huge emphasis on the redshirt freshmen linemen and the incoming defensive tackles in the recruiting class of 2015. Chris Slayton and Kayton Samuels are both redshirt freshmen, while Steven Clark, Tyler Cross, and Anthony Giudice are the incoming freshmen.
Clark’s recruitment was a roller coaster, as the Alabama prospect committed to the Orange two separate times, dropping his verbal the first time because the Florida Gators came knocking. Cross, on the other hand, committed to SU during May of 2014, when the Orange was reeling in verbals left and right. Giudice comes from the Northeast and told the Fizz last July that he wants to redshirt his freshman year so he can work towards an MBA while at SU. With the depth issues the Orange now faces, it will be interesting to see if he follows through with that when given a chance to play.