Which Syracuse football freshmen will make an impact on the 2016 season?

CuseNation.com breaks down which true freshmen will have an impact on Syracuse football this season.

Syracuse impressively was able to land a bunch of talented prospects in the 2016 class in a short period of time due to the coaching change. Many of those players are expected to play this season. Who will have the biggest impact?


Moe Neal leads a group of talented offensive playmakers Syracuse brought in their 2016 class. Neal is expected to have the biggest role. His speed, change of direction and dynamic playmaking ability is a perfect fit for Dino Babers' offensive system. 

He will play some running back, some slot receiver and could contribute on special teams. His role should continue to grow as the season progresses. 

A couple of other players who have had strong training camps are Sean Riley and Devin Butler. Riley is a slot receiver who is undersized but has big time speed. That could allow him to see the field. 

Butler absolutely looks the part. He has length, speed and is very athletic. Butler has cross trained between running back and wide receiver, giving him the ability to see the field in a variety of ways. The ceiling on Butler is very high, and he should show flashes of that potential this season. 


One thing we know for sure is that the defensive ends will all play this season. That means snaps for Kenneth RuffKendall ColemanJaquwan Nelson and Joshua Black. This makes sense since Syracuse lacks experienced depth at the position.

Coleman and Ruff should see the most action. In fact, Coleman has had a very impressive camp and is in line for major role. Coleman has size, strength and athleticism. Ruff was a starter coming out of spring ball, and will be a key part of the rotation. 

Nelson has had some standout moments during training camp. He recorded sacks in each of the scrimmages. His role may be a pass rushing specialist in year one as he develops into an all-around defensive end, but he will play this season without a doubt. 

We haven't heard much from Black during training camp, but he is a big, physical body who can also slide inside if needed. 

Also up front, McKinley Williams is expected to be a part of the rotation at defensive tackle. Syracuse needs a couple of key reserves to keep the starters fresh along the interior of the defensive line, and Williams could fill that role. 

Linebacker Andrew Armstrong has impressed both his coaches and his teammates. He won't start, but he will play. Armstrong could be a special teams start this season while also seeing the field as a reserve linebacker. He has speed, instincts and a high football IQ. 

In the secondary, both Evan Foster and Carl Jones will play. Foster has had a very impressive camp and pushed the starting safeties. Thought he did not take their job, he will still see the field plenty. 

Jones is a long, athletic, versatile defensive back who play as a backup corner and safety. He will also see action on special teams. 


Syracuse brought in some impressive talent last recruiting cycle, and they will no doubt leave their mark on the 2016 season. Some will play more than others, but they are part of the group that will lay the foundation for what Dino Babers is building. 

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