Syracuse football did not have a definitive standout commit in its 2015 recruiting class like it does in 2016 with running back Robert Washington. With SU‚Äôs training camp currently in full force some first year players are starting to emerge as potential contributors for Scott Shafer though.
The Orange has shown in the past that it is not afraid to play freshmen (see Ervin Phillips, Steve Ishmael, and Zaire Franklin last season.) With another rebuilding year on the horizon, Shafer will surely rely on some first year players this season as well.
The biggest headline maker in the freshman class has been Alabama nose tackle Steven Clark. The 6‚Äô3 300 pound big man has held his own against double teams so far this summer according to Shafer. SU‚Äôs head coach also said that Clark‚Äôs stock is rising; watch for the nose tackle to get into the game week 1 against URI.
New Jersey running back Dontae Strickland is having a quiet summer thus far, but he should get a chance to work his way into Syracuse‚Äôs running back rotation once the season starts. Strickland, the 2014 New Jersey high school player of the year, is too good to not be given an opportunity in some capacity (he also returns kicks) for SU this season.
Back on the defensive side of the ball, freshman Troy Henderson Jr. is already second on the Syracuse depth chart at middle linebacker. With Marquez Hodge playing primarily as a weak side linebacker, there are openings in the middle of SU‚Äôs defense. Henderson Jr. will feature for SU this fall when Zaire Franklin needs a rest.
Finally in the secondary, safeties Chris Frederick and Kielan Whitner might be thrown into the mix for Syracuse this season simply because the Orange has no other options. The only other strong safety listed ahead of those two on the depth chart is sophomore Antwan Cordy.
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Posted: Connor Morrissette