With spring practice in the books, it was only a matter of time before Syracuse University football coach Scott Shafer released a post-spring depth chart based on what he and his staff saw throughout the past couple of months. For the most part, the depth chart looks about the way we expected, though there are a couple of relatively surprising items.

The most noteworthy omission on the spring 2-deep is Ashton Broyld, the 6-foot-3 h-back/receiver who had a disappointing 2014 campaign after a breakout season in 2013. After hauling in 52 passes as a sophomore, Broyld caught just 15 balls last year. Through his three years on the Hill, he’s still looking for his first receiving touchdown, and has only one rushing touchdown in his career. Ervin Philips was always expected to become the starting h-back, but it’s a little surprising to see that right behind him is Ben Lewis, not Broyld.

It’s also a little bit surprising to see that Alvin Cornelius is penciled in as a starter at one of the wide receiver positions, though not a total shock since he was working with the first team through the spring. Still, based on last season it’s interesting to see. Cornelius made just three catches last year, after making nine grabs as a freshman.

One of the other positions of note on offense is of course running back, and at least at this point it looks like Devante McFarlane has wrestled the starting role from George Morris II, though it’s clear both juniors will get plenty of work and based on past history, McFarlane has been the more productive RB. McFarlane rushed for just 169 yards last year, after picking up 292 as a freshman, but has maintained an average of more than 6.0 yards per carry through his two years at Syracuse. Morris, on the other hand, picked up 334 yards as a freshman but just 101 last year, averaging a dismal 2.9 yards per carry in 2014.

With AJ Long a probable redshirt candidate, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Austin Wilson is penciled in as the backup behind starter Terrel Hunt, though swinging over to the tight end position some are probably a little curious about Cam MacPherson beating out Trey Dunkelberger for the post-spring backup spot. Personally, I’d expect Dunkelberger to eventually move up onto the 2-deep during fall camp.

On the defensive side of the ball, one curious note is that right now, there’s no listed backup for Ron Thompson at one defensive end position, nor is there a backup for Antwan Cordy, who will get the nod as the starting strong safety heading into fall camp. Obviously, it’s easy to see that those are spots being reserved for Jake Pickard at DE, and Marquise Blair – if he’s able to qualify, and fingers crossed he is – at safety. To be perfectly honest, I’m fully expecting Blair to earn the starting strong safety job, assuming he’s able to get the grades needed to qualify. Cody is undersized at 5-foot-8, while Blair has great size and athleticism and comes in as a 4-star recruit.

Everything remains fluid when it comes to a football team’s depth chart and it doesn’t really pay to pick apart a post-spring 2-deep since the freshman class hasn’t yet arrived on campus, but it still gives a good indication of who stood out, and who faded, over the course of spring practice. And with Tim Lester continuing to install his new offense, it’s particularly noteworthy to keep an eye on who is rising and falling on that side of the ball at the skill positions as we try to get a better idea of what to expect out of the first (full) year offensive coordinator.

LATE EDIT: Of course, as soon as I hit “publish” a new depth chart is released including Broyld as the third string HB…

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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