5. Center: Colin Byrne vs Sam Heckel
The future of the center position may be partially determined this fall. Colin Byrne was the fill-in when Jason Emerich was injured last season and performed quite well. Sam Heckel is a redshirt freshman with a lot of potential. Watching these two battle should be fun. If Heckel can make up ground or take the job by the end of spring, it bodes well for his prospects this fall.
4. Cornerback: Devin Butler vs Christopher Fredrick
Devin Butler came to Syracuse to start over after his time at Notre Dame. Butler has the size and athleticism to be a major contributor. Christopher Fredrick, however, emerged last season as one of the bright spots in the secondary. Can Fredrick hold off the veteran Butler as he learns the scheme? Regardless of the outcome this spring, the battle will continue in the fall.
3. Safety: Rodney Williams vs Evan Foster
From everything we have heard, the staff is extremely high on Evan Foster and believes he has a bright future at Syracuse. Rodney Williams has started several games in the last couple of seasons for the Orange. Can Williams hold off the up and comer? Or does Foster's potential start being realized now? Foster certainly has the size advantage in this battle.
2. Backup QB: Rex Culpepper vs Zack Mahoney
We all know the history of starting quarterback Eric Dungey. He has not made it through a full season in his college career. That is why the backup quarterback situation is so important. Zachary Mahoney has performed well as a reserve in the last two seasons. Rex Culpepper redshirted last season, but has more raw ability. Especially with his arm. Mahoney starts the spring as the clear number two, but Culpepper needs to push him to have a shot this fall. Culpepper possesses a lot of skills that you like and he has been in the system for one full year. It is time for him to show the staff that he deserves to be in the discussion for the future quarterback of Syracuse.
1. Wide Receiver: Jamal Custis vs Devin Butler
Who will replace Amba Etta-Tawo in the offense this season? That answer could start to be answered in the spring. At this time last year, nobody knew who Etta-Tawo was or that he would even be on the roster let alone have such a monster season. Jamal Custis redshirted last season and could step into that role. He starts the spring as the starter. Custis has a lot of desirable traits. He has height, length and is a solid athlete. Even though Devin Butler is listed as the backup to Steve Ishmael, don't think that means he could not take the spot from Custis. Butler is a 6-foot-3 athlete who can run. He played a bit last season, and could emerge this spring.