Liberty’s X-Factor isn’t its quarterback, Malik Willis, who is a projected first-round pick and by all means the best player on the team. It isn’t Joshua Mack, a Central New York native and multi-year starter. It’s not leading receiver Demario Davis or sack leader Kendy Charles. It’s the Flames third-string running back.
Yeah, we’re positive.
See number one? The guy running through those massive holes at the line of scrimmage and burning the SU secondary? That’s Shedro Louis, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound running back from Immokalee, Florida. He ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns against the Orange in 2020. On just 10 carries.
Louis doesn’t possess great size or strength. What he does have is the ability to find the hole and burst through it. Last year Syracuse’s defensive line struggled mightily to plug the gaps at the line of scrimmage, and Louis and Willis continually took advantage. The Akron transfer is a game breaker, plain and simple. Tony White and company better be ready to contain him this Friday.
So a curious reader like yourself might be asking, “Why is Louis the third-string back?” Looking at the numbers, Hugh Freeze certainly hasn’t given him many touches this year (17 carries for 88 yards). Well, Mack returned, and the Flames also have a newcomer in Utah transfer TJ Green, who has many of the same intangibles. Keep in mind, Liberty also has played its first three games against high school JV teams. Hugh Freeze knows what worked against Syracuse a season ago, and any smart head coach would go back to his winning formula.
So while Louis might not be getting the lion’s share of the carries, it is paramount that SU account for him on Saturday. Yes, Willis is the biggest threat when it comes to the run game, but the Orange have to be okay with the quarterback taking off. Give him a few licks early on and see how he handles it. Don’t lose track of the running back with game-breaking speed, because last year, Louis caused havoc.