The defensive tackle position for the 2015 season needs at least one freshman to step up for the Syracuse Orange. With the loss of Wayne Williams, Marcus Coleman and Isaiah Johnson in the offseason, the position is thin regarding experienced depth.
Syracuse likes to rotate their linemen in order to keep them fresh throughout each game and the season. Because of that, Syracuse is going to rely on some young players. Not only redshirt freshmen Kayton Samuels and Chris Slayton, but there’s an opportunity for a true freshman to earn some snaps.
Enter Steven Clark, freshman defensive tackle from Alabama. He has bulked up nearly 50 pounds from signing day until the start of training camp. Clark already looks the part, but now has to take his strength and athleticism and turn it into technique and consistency.
Early returns on Clark’s camp performance are nearly as strong as the man himself. In fact, after Wednesday’s practice, Shafer raved about the potential of his young defensive lineman.
”Steven Clark’s going to be a very good football player,” head coach Scott Shafer said. “He is a strong young man for a freshman. He’s fighting those double teams and he can run. Just like we saw on his high school tape. He comes from a smaller school in Alabama. He didn’t get heavily recruited until we exposed him as a player. Then everybody tried to come in and steal him those last three, four weeks. That was hell on wheels, man, for a few weeks.
”I think he’s going to be a very good football player. He’s a freshman and he’s playing the toughest position to play as a freshman, but stock’s up on Steven Clark.”
Clark seems to have the upper hand on the fourth defensive tackle spot, with John Raymon, Samuels and Slayton as the top three options. That would mean game day snaps for the former Brindlee Mountain High standout.
Also in the mix are Tyler Cross and Anthony Giudice, two other true freshmen. Both have potential, but do not seem to be as far along as Clark. His combination of size, quickness and athleticism make him an ideal fit for the Syracuse system.
While Clark’s best football may be ahead of him, he still has plenty to offer this year.