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Redshirt Report: Who Does Syracuse Have To Decide On Soon?

College football’s new redshirt rule has everyone in a frenzy. High-profile players are on the move, others are speaking out and coaches have a lot of decisions to make. With conference play in full swing, Dino Babers is not alone in having to pick his spots with some of his freshmen.

To get everyone up to speed, the new redshirt rule allows players to play in up to four games, but maintain eligibility to redshirt. This gives coaches a lot more flexibility for their special teams units as well as early season tune-up games or blowouts.

Now that the season is almost halfway over, Babers and his staff have to pick and choose which guys are going to play and how much in order to preserve the longevity of this rebuild. Of course, circumstances can supersede anything. But there are a couple of key players who Syracuse has to make a decision on in the next couple of games.

Taj Harris – WR, 4 games played

Amongst the four cases, this is the biggest no brainer. Harris is one of the few players that a decision will be made on this week. Harris is too valuable in the offense and has impressed the coaching staff as well as Eric Dungey. The freshman made a huge catch down the sideline against Clemson that showcased his athleticism, balance and concentration. With some inconsistency at the wide receiver position, Harris is far too valuable of an asset to keep on you bench for the remainder of the season.

Decision: Play him

Jarveon Howard – RB, 4 games played

This is by far the most difficult decision for Babers. Howard has shown flashes of brilliance throughout the season. His big runs have drawn the eye of Babers, but he also has a fumble to his name. With Dontae Strickland graduating after this season and no running backs in the Class of 2019, it would be nice to extend Howard’s college career. But with Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams entering the program next year, the entire running back landscape could change in 2019. But for 2018, Howard has given this team too many valuable carries to sit for the remainder of the season.

Decision: Play him

Gabe Horan – TE, 1 game played

This one is a tricky situation, especially given the amount of games Horan has played. The Baldwinsville product only has one catch to his name, but it went for a touchdown against UConn. After not making the trip to Clemson last weekend, this decision may make itself if his health won’t allow him to play more than four games. Horan is also given the “OR” designation this week on the depth chart against Pitt. The tight end position is one that is going to be interesting moving forward. Ravian Pierce’s health status is up in the air for the foreseeable future, tight end is slowly becoming a thin position for offensive production. But Aaron Hackett is a serviceable backup and made a nice catch on 4th down against Clemson which would have likely sealed the upset win if it were not negated by a penalty. Syracuse uses tight ends sparingly on offense, but they are called upon in big moments. Hackett and Elmore can get the job done at the position.

Decision: Redshirt him

Markenzy Pierre – RB, 3 games played

Pierre’s Syracuse career is not going the way he probably would have liked. He went into the doghouse last year after some early season fumbles and never really saw the field again. Now, he’s staring at the fourth spot on the depth chart in his sophomore season with the chances of seeing the field diminishing for the remainder of his career thanks to Adams transferring in and Howard’s emergence. Pierre’s playing days at Syracuse seem to be numbered, and transferring out of the program would not come as a shock. Dino and company should give him that liberty and preserve that extra year of eligibility.

Decision: Redshirt him

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