Spruill Ready for Leadership Role

One of the more consistent players for Syracuse over the last few seasons has been linebacker Marquis Spruill. With a position switch and new defensive scheme, Spruill is ready to be a leader as he enters his senior season.

Senior linebacker Marquis Spruill has been a starter since he arrived on campus four years ago. Now entering his final season at Syracuse, he is experiencing a bit of nostalgia.

"Yeah it seems like yesterday I just got here," Spruill reflected. "Being in my last year, it really puts things into perspective for you. It lets you understand the bigger picture. I understand more of what we need to do to get it done."

Since his senior year of high school, Spruill has not played the same position twice. He was moved from middle linebacker to the outside entering his freshman season, and has flipped back and forth ever since.

"As long as I'm on the field at linebacker, I think I can play," Spruill said with a chuckle. "Just don't move me to safety or something like that. The transition has been good. I started in spring ball and everything was good. Now we're camping and I'm improving on things from spring ball."

Spruill has had the opportunity to play in Scott Shafer's system over the past three seasons. With Shafer now the head coach and a new defensive coordinator in Chuck Bullough, Spruill says you can expect some differences in scheme. But he was coy in revealing what to expect.

"I'll put it like this," Spruill offered with a sly grin. "We do a lot more. I'm not going to give away any secrets. I'll just leave it at that. You'll see when we play Penn State."

The Orange are deep at linebacker entering 2013. In addition to himself, Spruill feels there are several players who will see the field and contribute to an aggressive defense.

"Kirkland, he's a ball player," Spruill explained. "He hustles to the ball and arrives there with a pop. Luke is a great guy and he gets the defense a little more now. You could see him probably get some playing time. There's always Dyshawn. He's always in there making plays. He and Cam."

With the talent at linebacker and in the secondary, Spruill feels the defense has a very high ceiling and can be a force in the ACC.

"We're trying to be the best," Spruill declared. "To do that, it means getting better every single day. Practice, meeting rooms, film, studying on your own every day. As long as everybody keeps that mindset I think we'll be really good."

When the media poll came out and had Syracuse second to last in its division, the Orange took notice. While it serves as motivation, Spruill knows that there is work to be done in order to prove the doubters wrong.

"It always does," Spruill claimed. "It's always great to be the underdog. We want to prove people wrong and say, ‘ha-ha.' Still, in order to get there, we just have to keep working the small things. The little things. Minute details of everything we do has to be better, smarter, crisper."

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