The Syracuse defensive line has lost a lot of depth this spring/summer. Specifically at the defensive tackle position. Gone are Wayne Williams (left the program), Isaiah Johnson (concussions), Marcus Coleman (foot injuries), Ryan Sloan (left the program) and Jalen Harvey (transfer). Most of then were expected to contribute this season.
Their departures leave Syracuse with only three scholarship defensive tackles on the roster in Kayton Samuels, John Raymon and Chris Slayton. That is before the arrival of the incoming freshman class of course.
Most of the 2015 recruiting class arrived over this past weekend to officially start their Syracuse career. Among the most intriguing are the defensive tackles, as they will be counted on to add depth and production to a unit sorely lacking both.
One of those players is Anthony Giudice out of Old Farms High in Avon (Conn.). When he was just a freshman in high school, he weighed only 145-pounds. Hardly ideal size for a division one defensive lineman. And so, Giudice went to work.
After spending a lot of time with a trainer, he was up over 60 pounds by the time he was a sophomore. He ballooned even more, reaching 235-pounds prior to the start of his junior season. Adding over 30 more pounds to his frame, he hit the 260-pound mark by the time he committed to Syracuse last summer.
"I knew I had to get a lot bigger," Giudice said. "So I started going to my trainer a lot. I gained a lot of weight. I was gaining speed and quickness in addition to gaining a lot of size and strength.
At that time, he said his goal was to be between 270 and 275 pounds by the time he arrived in Central New York. It is a goal he achieved, telling CuseNation.com that his weight was up to 273-pounds just prior to reporting to Syracuse. All told, that is an increase of 128-pounds in approximately three years.
"I'm just eating a lot of healthy foods," Giudice said. "But like all day and drinking protein shakes."
Giudice has also altered his workout regimen. Instead of following his old routine, he has a new one outlined by Syracuse strength and conditioning coach Will Hicks. It is the same routine followed by the defensive linemen in the football program and the same one handed out to incoming defensive linemen before their arrival.
When Syracuse accepted a commitment from him just over a year ago, the added weight combined with his athleticism were what made him such an intriguing prospect to them. Now that he has achieved that goal, he can add even more weight to be ready for the riggers of ACC football. The added weight is necessary to absorb the incessant pounding that is the norm in major conference division one football.
Even with the increased talent level, Giudice believes he will up to the task.
"For sure I'll be ready," he said. "I've been mentally and physically prepping myself for anything they need me to do."
What they need are bodies along that depleted defensive line that can contribute and provide depth. Giudice has set himself up to potentially be one of those options.