Every Tuesday over the summer, we’re going to highlight individual players on the 2012-13 Syracuse football team. This week, we feature linebacker Siriki Diabate.
Syracuse linebacker Siriki Diabate seized the opportunity.
Incumbent middle linebacker, Marquis Spruill, missed all of spring practice with a lower body injury, and Syracuse needed someone to fill the void.
In stepped Diabate, a senior, who played at Nassau Community College before transferring to SU in 2011. Last year, he played in 11 games, making two starts. He finished the season with 24 tackles.
When Syracuse coach Doug Marrone released his depth chart for SU’s season opener against Northwestern, Diabate was the team’s starting middle linebacker.
“You never want anyone to get hurt,” Diabate said. “But once someone goes down, you have to be ready for the opportunity, you have to take it.”
Spurill will now shift back to outside linebacker to make room for Diabate.
Still, Diabate, and the rest of the linebackers know that who starts at what position is purely academic, something for fans and media to speculate about.
“Our linebacker core is one of the best linebacker cores I’ve seen in a while,” Diabate said. “We all good players, and we all get every play.”
Inside Slant: To put in perspective how impressive Diabate was in spring practices, the coaches moved Spurill back to outside linebacker. In the same position, Spurill was was named to the Second Team All Big East after finishing with 62 tackles in 2011. Diabate will certainly have the opportunity to put up similar numbers.
Career Highlights: Diabate was a 2010 NJCC All-American at Nassau Community College after recording 92 total tackles. He was the team captain of the 2010 team that went a perfect 11-0.Wesley Cheng