5 takeaways from Syracuse football’s latest depth chart

Jarveon Howard
Syracuse running back Jarveon Howard breaks free during Syracuse's 51-21 win over UCONN. Mandatory Photo Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

Syracuse released their depth chart for Saturday’s opener at North Carolina and there several things jumped off the page.

1. The complete absence of Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard at running back and Tyrell Richards at linebacker.
Adams and Howard combined for almost 700 rushing yards and six scores last season, but are not listed at all. There has been speculation about the duo opting out of the season and their absence certainly lends some support. Richards, a special teams ace with four sacks in his two seasons of play, certainly profiles as a contributor in the inexperienced linebacker corps.

2. The listed starters at guard are Chris Elmore and Darius Tisdale.
After Dakota Davis missed spring football while rehabbing from an injury and Chris Bleich was not granted immediate eligibility (more on that below), Tisdale’s appearance in the starting lineup is not a great surprise, as he was listed as a backup last season. Elmore’s appearance, however, is a shocker, as his experience on the line previously has only been on the kicking unit. I guess we will find out how serious the position change is when he appears in uniform, as his usual number (5) is for eligible players only.

3. Freshman linebacker Stefon Thompson listed as a starter.
Thompson enrolled in January and has legitimate size at 6’0”, 235 pounds (the heaviest listed player at the position). His presence gives credence to Dino Babers’ statements about having interest in the 3-3-5 defense for a while, as it needs bigger linebackers than those who previously appeared on the roster. While the two are not necessarily directly linked, it would have been very hard to decide on switching to the 3-3-5 defense after Brian Ward was fired and bring Thompson in as an early arrival.

» Related: Can Syracuse make a bowl game in 2020?

4. Chris Bleich.
Despite not submitting his waiver until April, he could not claim the transfer was due to coronavirus concerns, as he was reported to be transferring to Syracuse in December and enrolled at SU in January. Yes, it has been almost five months since the request was submitted, but Bleich is not a special case and the NCAA does not promise a response by any certain date.

5. Website change.
Not only was the depth chart not tweeted out by the athletic department, but the link at the Syracuse University Athletics website for the depth chart has been removed. It’s a change that does not look good, regardless of the rationale.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.