USA TODAY Sports-Rich Barnes

Position Preview: Running Back

Taking a look at the running back position for Syracuse football heading into the 2016 season.

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

Depth Chart

Starter: Dontae Strickland  
Backup: Jordan Fredericks            

Top Two

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 in the spring and this fall. 

Fredericks is still trying to regain 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 is a cut and go type of runner. Both can have success within the offense and both will receive carries. Strong insider runners are critical to Babers' system, and both excel in that role.

Regardless of who starts, both will see significant action. Strickland is likely the first back that trots onto the field, but Fredericks will see his share of snaps. 


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, and Morris has suffered an injury that required surgery. His return date is unknown at this time. 

Morris could see action in certain packages should he return. 

With Morris on the mend, who emerges as the fourth running back? Devin Butler is an option. He cross trained at running back and is an explosive athlete. Should he be needed, Butler could step in and make plays. 

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