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 running back Dontae Strickland.
When Syracuse running back Dontae Strickland was in high school, his friend, Mohamed Sanu (now with the Atlanta Falcons), gave him a nickname: ‘Beamer.’
“I just ran smooth,” Strickland said. “It’s stuck with me since then.”
Strickland wants a chance to run smoother than ever in his senior season, and with the talent returning around him, he might just get a chance to do so.
The New Jersey native will be running behind an offensive line that returns five players with starting experience, gets Aaron Roberts back from an injury and also adds graduate transfer Koda Martin from Texas A&M.
“We have an O line coming back that’s veteran like,” Strickland said. “We have a lot of guys who have experience from being in practice and games, or just watching film with us this summer.”
When coach Dino Babers arrived at Syracuse three years ago and installed his uptempo offense, the running backs struggled as a unit to adapt, averaging 3.2 yards per rush. That improved to 4.1 last season, which is a solid, though certainly not spectacular, number.
Now in their third season under Babers, that number is expected to climb.
“He’s just a veteran, so he’s savvy, he runs hard,” Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey said of Strickland. “You know what you’re going to get out of him.”
Strickland is hoping that it will help him finish his career, especially in the month of November, on a high note.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve been 1-11 in November,” Strickland said. “We like to win games every game, but November is what we’re looking forward to. We have to have a better outcome this November.”
Inside slant: In the past two seasons, Syracuse has had All-ACC caliber wide receivers on offense, which is a luxury it may not have this season. The run game will be that much more important to establish as a result. Strickland and the offensive line should be able to put up better numbers this season.
- Birthdate: March, 1997
- Hometown: Dayton, N.J.
- High School: South Brunswick
- Position: Running Back
- Class: Senior
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 204 lbs
Career highlights: Strickland has appeared in 34 games in his Syracuse career, rushing for 1,129 yards on 311 carries with nine touchdowns. He also has 48 receptions for 411 yards and four TDs. Last year, he finished third on the team with 482 yards and four scores.