With the Syracuse University football class of 2015 having recently arrived on campus over the holiday weekend, it feels like a good time to start looking ahead at players who might get on the field early in their careers. The defensive secondary for the Orange is thin and inexperienced, particularly at the safety position, making it a prime position for a young player to make an early impact.

Syracuse signed three safeties in the class of 2015 in Marquise Blair, Daivon Ellison, and Christopher Fredrick (Kielan Whitner, another defensive back, could transition to safety as well). While Blair seems like the most ready to compete right now, the staff is still waiting for him get cleared academically, and Ellison, though a talented athlete, is probably a bit too undersized to contribute immediately. That leaves Fredrick as a player who should get every chance to compete early in 2015, with a good combination of size, athleticism, and smarts.

The 6-foot-2, 180 pound safety from Ellenwood, Georgia, was a 3-star talent coming out of high school and boasted offers from Stanford, Mississippi State, and Minnesota, among others. He runs a reported 4.5 in the 40 yard dash, and obviously has terrific size for the position. One of the reasons Fredrick chose the Orange was the opportunity to play early, and that’s exactly what he’ll get this season.

Fredrick was a first team All-Region selection and came away with four interceptions as a senior at Cedar Grove, and in his film he shows good hands and awareness (he also played wide receiver). He’s a long, rangy athlete who isn’t afraid to hit from his free safety position and looks good both against the run and when he drops back into coverage. If he can pick up the Syracuse playbook – and given his offer from Stanford, there’s not much question about his mental aptitude – he should see the field this fall as the Orange try to replace the team’s top three safeties from a year ago.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish