The Syracuse return three members of the linebacker crew from the roster of the 2010 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
However, how much they will all play at the position of linebacker is up in the air, with Marquis Spruill facing some type of punishment, Dan Vaughan being utilized on special teams, and Lewellyn Coker finding a home on the offense's "tank" package.
As a true freshman in 2010, Marquis Spruill was a standout on one of the best defenses in the country. His breakout game came against Colgate that year, where he has 12 tackles including 1.5 for a loss. The future for Spruill seemed nearly limitless given how well he had played as a true freshman.
On the 2012 squad, Spruill has taken on more of a leadership role on the defense. However, his productivity has plateaued. He still makes mistakes over pursuing, but shows that athleticism and speed Orange fans saw in 2010. Spruill has been the victim of moving around to some degree. After starting all of 2010 on the outside, he was moved to the middle in 2011 before being moved back to the outside in 2012. He seems more comfortable in that spot, and will look to take that next step in 2013.
Legal trouble, stemming from an incident involving Syracuse police and Steve Rene, will cause Spruill to miss a "significant portion" of the Pinstripe Bowl.
Competing in all 13 SU games as a true junior, the steady linebacker contributed five tackles to the defense. After starting plenty of games in 2011, Vaughan took a back-seat as a redshirt-senior in 2012. The linebacker group was shuffled and Vaughan ended up rotating in when needed. Still, he ended up with big plays despite the limited time en route to a pair of tackles for loss and 1 1/2 sacks.
As a true freshman, Lewellyn Coker contributed primarily on special teams. He has been a consistent producer on Syracuse's kickoff and punt return coverage. As he worked on his craft, he became on of the Orange's best in 2012 on special teams. He recovered fumbles in back-to-back games against Cincinnati and Louisville.
Adding to his repertoire in 2012 was becoming the fullback on the "tank" package. He led the way for Adonis Ameen-Moore on most of his touchdown runs. Coker also caught a touchdown against Louisville, which was his first career catch and touchdown. Coker will continue to be an important player on special teams and the "tank" package going forward.