Over the summer, The Juice Online will be featuring players on the 2018 Syracuse football team as we countdown to kickoff. Today, The Juice Online looks at defensive lineman Chris Slayton.
Syracuse coach Dino Babers finally has the defensive line he wants.
When Babers arrived on campus three years ago, he installed a Tampa 2 defense, which relies heavily on the defensive line getting pressure on the quarterback. It was a departure from Scott Shafer’s blitz-heavy defensive scheme.
It was an adjustment period both in recruiting personnel and getting his existing group of players comfortable with the system.
That adjustment period seems to be over.
“We’re deeper in the defensive line,” Babers said. “I just think we’re finally the real deal on the defensive line. I think we’re going to be able to get after people, penetrate, and push some people around.”
While he was referring to the unit as a whole, he may as well have been referring to defensive lineman Chris Slayton, who has turned heads with his ridiculous feats of strength. Earlier this summer, Slayton squatted 670 pounds three times, setting a new personal record, while sending his teammates into a frenzy.
It is that type of strength that Syracuse needs for its defense to be successful.
“We have so much depth on the D-line,” Slayton said. “It’s as much as it’s been — as long as I’ve been here, so much depth, and everybody is getting better.”
Last year, Slayton finished with 28 total tackles (18 solo) and finished second on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss along with a sack.
That sack was the one that knocked Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant out of the game, allowing Syracuse to complete a historic upset of the then-No. 2 team in the country.
But, as was pointed out to Slayton, that was also the last time Syracuse posted a win.
Slayton hopes to change that this season.
“We obviously didn’t finish strong, as strong as we would like,” Slayton said. “But that’s been the whole focal point for this off-season, just starting off strong and then just continuing to fight and finishing the season off strong.”
Inside slant: Babers is excited for good reason. Along with Slayton, Babers can employ defensive ends Kendall Coleman and Alton Robinson, a pair of experienced edge rushers. That will allow defensive coordinator Brian Ward to fully deploy his Tampa 2 scheme.
- Birthdate: August, 1996
- Hometown: University Park, Ill.
- High School: Crete Monee
- Position: Defensive line
- Class: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 309 lbs
Career highlights: Slayton was named to the Preseason All-ACC Third Team selection by both Athlon and Phil Steele. He is the active team leader in team leader in games started (29), tackles for loss (24.5), sacks (6), and forced fumbles (4).