DeVante McFarlane was seen as a dynamic playmaker who could impact the Syracuse offense immediately. However, he was initially placed on the defensive side of the ball as a safety. But with emerging depth in the secondary and lack of a standout at running back, McFarlane was moved back to his natural position.
"My reaction when they told me I was moving back to running back, I was excited," he explained. "I just wanted to help wherever they needed to be helped. I feel I'm doing pretty well. Just doing what's natural to me. The linemen have been blocking well and I've been doing alright."
The move to running back is more natural for McFarlane, where he can be a playmaker on an offense desperate for explosiveness.
"Yeah, definitely more natural," McFarlane said. "I've been playing running back my whole life. So it's a better fit, I feel like."
Even with that natural fit, McFarlane is at a disadvantage having spent the majority of camp on the defensive side of the ball. While he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him, he is hopeful he can see the field this season.
"Hopefully, but that's up to them," McFarlane detailed. "My performance, how well I do on the field and how fast I pickup the playbook, will determine that. Hopefully I'll get some playing time this year. We'll see."
Confident in his abilities, he feels he is ready to contribute from week one. Part of the reason he is ready despite only a few practices under his belt is the tutiledge of running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley.
"It's been great. He teaches me a lot," the true freshman said. "He teaches me a lot of tricks I don't know. He supports me whether I'm doing good or if I did something wrong. He's always been there for me."
Another form of support for Devante had been his roommate and fellow freshman running back, George Morris.
"Off the field, George Morris and Josh Parris," he said. "Those are my boys. We both (Morris and McFarlane) cheer each other on. That's my roommate. We're good friends on and off the field. He's definitely helped me catch up to the other backs. He's helped me a lot actually.
"Going over playbooks, talking me through stuff, how to do this, how to do that. It's been good."
A little over a week from the season, the team is eager to get out there and play. McFarlane is no exception.
"I feel like we're getting prepared," he said. "We'll be ready for Northwestern. I've seen a lot of progression. We're doing pretty well in practices."
Being an incoming freshmen, there's a concern that things could be different than what was perceived while being recruited. McFarlane says things are exactly as he expected.
"Nothing is really different," he described. "Everything they told me has happened. They're great coaches and great guys on and off the field."
"That experience was different. It was a new experience for me," McFarlane recalled. "I wasn't really used to it, but we got through it as a team. I feel like we came together a lot."
McFarlane said, despite being on the losing team, playing paintball against the coaches was the coolest part of the Fort Drum experience. Being able to shoot at the guys who had been yelling at them for weeks was a lot of fun.