What, you thought we were done after I’d already talked about the offensive and defensive newcomers to the Syracuse Orange football team? Well, not quite. We still need to do a quick recap of the transfers who will be joining the Orange and looking to make an immediate impact for Dino Babers and his staff.
The Orange have two graduate transfers and one junior college transfer joining the fold, and while there’s still a spot open for an additional…well, addition…right now, we’re going to just presume that the staff is done and talk briefly about the three older players who, for our purposes, fall under the category of being members of the recruiting class of 2016.
DE Gabe Sherrod (Delaware State/Grad Transfer)
(Ed. note: OOPS! Never mind this one!)
Make no mistake about it, Gabe Sherrod is arguably the most important offseason addition for Syracuse. The Orange are painfully thin and inexperienced at defensive end, with the “elder statesman” of the group this past spring being Jake Pickard – a redshirt freshman who still has yet to play a single snap of college football. Sherrod is a 6-foot-4, 255 pound edge rusher who had 64 tackles – including 25 TFL – in his final season at Delaware State.
Of all the newcomers, Sherrod is the only one who is basically penciled in as a starter this fall. It would be positively stunning if he doesn’t wind up as one of the team’s first two defensive ends.
DB Michael Moore (Palomar College/JUCO Transfer)
I’ll be honest – a big part of the reason I wanted to do these refreshers is because I’m about 90% sure most of you completely forgot about Michael Moore, an under the radar cornerback prospect who, while a junior college transfer, actually has three years of eligibility remaining. The California JUCO product has good size for the cornerback position at 6-foot-2, 180, and offers a lot of length and athleticism in the secondary.
Syracuse has a lot of question marks in the secondary, and it’s no secret that Brian Ward and Nick Monroe are looking to add size to the defensive backfield, so expect Moore to make a serious push for immediate playing time this fall.
WR Amba Etta-Tawo (Maryland/Grad Transfer)
Finally, the Orange do have one more addition on the offensive side of the ball in former Maryland wideout Amba Etta-Tawo. At 6-foot-1, 200 the graduate transfer who once caught six passes for 109 yards against Syracuse as a freshman for the Terps, has good size for the position and is known as a speedy, athletic player who has struggled a bit with drops during his time at Maryland. Over his three year career with the Terps, he caught 61 passes for 938 yards in 37 games.
Syracuse has a sneakily solid core group of receivers, led by Steve Ishmael, Brisley Estime, and Erv Philips, but with his athleticism and experience, Etta-Tawo certainly has a chance to break into the 2-deep this fall and be a productive player in the extremely receiver-friendly offense of Dino Babers.
And there you have it. The Orange will be welcoming in 24 newcomers this fall – though technically, many of them are already on campus, but let’s not get bogged down by semantics. With nine newcomers on offense in the freshman class, 12 defensive freshmen newcomers, and three transfers, the Orange are adding a large crop of players with a lot of promise.
Many of them will have a chance to break into the rotation early, too, with new systems being installed on both sides of the ball, and a clear indication that Dino Babers isn’t the kind of guy to try to force a square peg into a round hole. That means that if a returning player was recruited for a different offense, or a different defense, don’t be surprised to see one of the younger players vault over him on the depth chart.