One of Syracuse football’s biggest off-season questions has now been answered.
Running backs Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard will be returning to the Orange after opting out of the 2020 campaign due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Prior to forgoing their season last year, the two were projected to sit atop the running back depth chart. Neither player elected to speak to the public about their respective decisions. However, both running backs have now rejoined the team and are fully participating in team activities.
Adams transferred from Oklahoma after his sophomore season in 2018. He first appeared for the Orange in their Camping World Bowl win over West Virginia, where he reached the end-zone twice. Adams served as the Orange’s second string running back behind Moe Neal in his junior season, in which he racked up 336 yards and 3 touchdowns on 87 carries. The redshirt senior will duke it out with Sean Tucker and Jarveon Howard to be the starting running back.
Howard is a physical, bruising back that has proven to be a red zone threat during his tenure with Syracuse. He’s racked up 10 touchdowns during his Syracuse career, including 7 as a freshman. During his sophomore year, Howard’s 337 yards were good for second on the team to Moe Neal, and was tied for the second most touchdowns with the aforementioned Adams. Whether Jarveon wins the starting job or not remains to be seen; but, no matter where he ranks on the depth chart, he’ll certainly receive carries in short yardage situations and around the goal line.
Joining these two in the backfield is Sean Tucker. As a true freshman a year ago, Tucker was slotted as the fifth running back on the depth chart. After the opt outs of Howard and Adams, as well as the injury to speedster Jawhar Jordan, Tucker ascended to the starting running back role. Sean thrived as the lead back, accumulating 626 yards, good for third most by a freshman in program history. Unfortunately, Tucker is set to have a diminished role in 2021 (due to the returns of Howard and Adams), but he will remain a factor in the Orange offense.
With the transfers of Jawhar Jordan and Markenzy Pierre, Adams, Howard, and Tucker clearly stand out among the rest in the running back room. While many people will be closely monitoring the battle for the right to start at QB throughout the off-season, the brewing competition in the backfield will certainly be one to keep your eye on.