This past week Syracuse football released its spring depth chart. Syracuse has to replace most of its defensive line, along with top wideout Trishton Jackson. It’s important to note that this depth chart does not include players who are rehabbing from injury. That includes guard Dakota Davis who started all 12 games at right guard last season and fellow offensive linemen Chris Bleich who transferred to Syracuse from Florida. He is recovering from injury, and is also seeking NCAA approval to play next season. Defensive linemen Kingsley Jonathan and Curtis Harper are also not listed.
As of now, it seems like Cameron Jordan will slide into Jackson’s old spot, and Nykeim Johnson becomes the primary slot receiver. Jordan’s back-up, Ed Hendrix was at one time a top-three Syracuse commit in the 2018 class. So far in his collegiate career, Hendrix has had a variety of injuries. In his first two seasons, he was limited due to leg injuries.
On the offensive line Syracuse returns a veteran unit. Darius Tisdale is currently listed as the starter at right guard, but of course that may change once Davis returns. Tisdale is a former JUCO transfer who appeared in all 12 games last season. Since signing with SU, Tisdale has added almost 20 pounds of weight, and is now 314 pounds. Over the past couple of seasons, SU’s offensive line has gotten bigger and bigger. In power-five football – especially against heavyweights like Clemson – offensive linemen must be 300 pounds or more. Syracuse is trending in the right direction, but there’s still work to be done. One area of concern is at right tackle, where back-up right tackle Mark Petry is only listed at 265 pounds. That’s simply not big enough to be successful in the ACC.
On defense, Syracuse will play three safeties as a part of new defensive coordinator Tony White’s 3-3-5 scheme. The scheme is unique and will be an interesting talking point in the next few months before the season.
This scheme requires a lot out of defensive linemen, who have to be sure tacklers while often taking on multiple blockers.
At linebacker, Canadien Geoff Cantin-Arku is listed over fellow sophomores Lee Kpogba and Mikel Jones – who were two of SU’s highest recruits in that class. Even so, all three will be vital to the Orange’s second level of the defense.