A lot of information came out of today’s media day interviews with Syracuse University head coach Scott Shafer, as well as with quarterback Terrel Hunt and linebacker Zaire Franklin. But one of the most intriguing bits came when Shafer mentioned that true freshman running back Dontae Strickland will most likely be groomed to play at least part of the time at the hybrid, or express back, position.
It was announced awhile ago that Strickland’s fellow incoming freshman, Tyrone Perkins, would shift over to play the express back position. The Orange don’t have a lot of natural fits at the position, with guys like wide receiver Ben Lewis being plugged in their for depth, and that depth took an even bigger hit when Ashton Broyld was dismissed from the team. Now, Erv Philips is not only the projected starter, but the only truly natural fit for the position on the roster.
So while running back is a position that needs to add depth as well, it makes sense to get Strickland to play in that capacity as well. After all, we’re talking about a fast, agile, explosive athlete who’s a home run threat every time he touches the ball. Both Strickland and the third incoming running back, Jordan Fredericks, are expected to contribute this season and for Strickland it seems the path to the field may come through the hybrid position in Tim Lester’s offense.
The 5-foot-11, 194 pound Strickland could also make a name for himself early on kickoff returns, something he excelled at in high school in New Jersey. Check out his senior year highlights above for a nice reminder of what an explosive playmaker he is, and while you’re at it, revisit what our own Justin Roe had to say. Spoiler: it was an absurdly glowing review.