USA TODAY Sports-Rich Barnes

Syracuse Orange Training Camp Position Preview: Running Back

CuseNation.com breaks down the Syracuse running backs heading into training camp.

The Syracuse Orange football team starts their first training camp under head coach Dino Babers. Heading into camp, the running back position may be the deepest on the roster.

Other Previews

Quarterback

Post-Spring Depth Chart

Starter: Dontae Strickland  
Backup: Jordan Fredericks            
Third String: Moe Neal                   
Fourth String: 
George Morris

Making Up Ground

Jordan Fredericks had one of the best freshman seasons in Syracuse running backs history, which is an impressive feat. Despite that, Fredericks finished the spring behind Dontae Strickland on the depth chart. Both are learning the new offense, so there is a bit of a learning curve. Strickland seems to have gotten a leg up early on. 

Fredericks will spend training camp trying to gain his starting role, but has his work cut out for him. Dino Babers likes powerful running backs, and Strickland certainly fits that mold. He hits the hole hard as a downhill runner, has good vision and is tough to bring down.

Fredericks has a bit more quickness than Strickland as a cut and go type of runner. Both can have success within the offense and both will receive carries. Even if Fredericks is unable to supplant Strickland as the starter, he will still have a significant role. But the battle between these two should be a close one throughout camp.

Depth

Syracuse has four talented running backs who can make plays and should receive carries. In addition to the aforementioned Strickland and Fredericks, Moe Neal is one to watch. Neal is as fast and explosive as any player on the roster, and that will make it difficult to keep him off the field. 

George Morris has a lot of experience and has shown flashes of playmaking ability. He runs with power and could carve out a role this season. It will be tough as the other three have more big play ability than he does, but if there were to be an injury, he is certainly a capable backup. 

Morris could also become the short yardage back in certain packages. 

Neal is someone that can do a lot of things and may also line up in the slot at times. But his primary role is expected to be as a ball carrier. During spring ball and in the spring game, he was absolutely electric. It's tough to rely on a true freshman, but Neal's touches could increase as the season progresses.

Prediction

Strickland and Fredericks will battle for the starting spot with both having a leg up at different points during camp. Ultimately, Strickland holds off Fredericks and is the first back on the field when Syracuse opens the season against Colgate. 

Neal carves out a role as a third running back but still sees the field for a significant number of snaps. Morris remains as the fourth running back and sees limited carries. 


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