Every Wednesday over the summer, The Juice Online is going to highlight individual players on the 2013 Syracuse football team. This week, we’re profiling running back Jerome Smith.
Jerome Smith is the face of the 2013 Syracuse football team.
At ACC kickoff in July, Smith was the only skill player on Syracuse to receive any votes for the Preseason All-ACC Team. Smith finished third among running ACC running backs with 17 votes.
Among other SU players, Macky MacPherson (15) and Ross Krautman (2) were the only other players to receive votes.
The accolades makes sense.
In his junior season, Smith had a breakout year, recording 1,171 rushing yards and three touchdowns. In Syracuse’s 38-14 win against West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl, Smith rushed for 152 yards.
Smith will team with Prince-Tyson Gulley (who rushed for 830 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2012) to form one of the most formidable backfield tandems in the ACC.
“It’s going to be fun finding ways to get those guys the ball,” offensive coordinator George McDonald said. “And I think it’s going to cause a lot of matchup problems for the defensive coordinators we’ll face.”
Syracuse may rely even more on its talented running back core this season.
With an uncertain quarterback situation, and Syracuse’s top two wide receivers from 2012 gone, Smith is SU’s most decorated returning player. If he stays healthy, rushing for another 1,000 yards seems likely.
Yet Smith would trade in the accolades for a larger team goal.
“(Rushing for 1,000 yards is) not as important as winning more games than we won last year,” Smith said. “If you get 600 yards and you get to go to a better bowl game, it’s a lot than me just getting 1,000 yards and being selfish about it.”
Inside slant: Smith is almost certainly in for another big season, although how big depends on the quarterback situation. If Drew Allen or Terrel Hunt can open up the field in the same way that Ryan Nassib did, then Smith will have plenty of opportunities to showcase his abilities.
- Birthdate: April, 1991
- Hometown: Bear, DE
- High School: Pencader Charter
- Position: Center
- Class: Junior
- Height: 6’0″
- Weight: 226lbs
Career highlights: Smith’s 1,171 yards was the fifth highest single-season total in school history. He averaged 90.1 yards rushing per game, ranking him third in the Big East and 43rd nationally. Athlon Sports named Smith to the First Team Preseason All-ACC Team, while Phil Steele named him to the second team.