The Syracuse University football staff released the depth chart for the team’s first game of the year against Rhode Island, and while most of the depth chart looks as we all expected, there are definitely a few noteworthy surprises on the 2-deep.
The first thing that jumps out on the offensive side of the ball is Seamus Shanley earning the starting nod at right guard ahead of Aaron Roberts. Roberts, a redshirt freshman, received glowing praise throughout the spring and summer from the coaching staff and was a standout in fall camp, as well. He was pretty much considered a lock to start, so for Shanley to get the start in week one is definitely news. Not surprisingly, from an offensive “riser” perspective, is the emergence of Brisly Estime as the starting wideout opposite Steve Ishmael. With Alvin Cornelius banged up through the preseason and Estime having a stellar camp, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the 5-foot-9 speedster would get the starting nod.
On the other side of the ball, the only real surprise is the fact that Corey Winfield, who converted from wide receiver to defensive back just before last season began, got the nod at corner ahead of Wayne Morgan. Morgan has battled some injuries, but it was expected that the former 4-star recruit would be locked into the starting secondary as one of the most experienced returning players on the defense.
If you count Eric Dungey, who is listed as an “OR” for the second string QB job, there are six true freshmen on the 2-deep, including long snapper Matt Keller. Another newcomer, Ted Taylor, also earned his way onto the 2-deep as the backup at the SAM linebacker position. We also knew that one of the three true freshmen safeties would wind up in the rotation, and it looks like Kielan Whitner will get the first crack at playing time. Whitner is more probably more physically ready to play than either Christopher Fredrick or Daivon Ellison, giving him the edge.