Syracuse Football: Top-two returning RBs have opted out, coach confirms

As we all probably figured, Syracuse football running backs Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard do not plan to play this season.

Syracuse football running backs Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard, the top-two returning RBs from 2019, did not get included in the team’s first 2020 depth chart earlier this week.

That fueled speculation about the status of each of them for the fall campaign, and media reports since then have indicated that redshirt senior Adams and junior Howard planned to opt out of the 2020 stanza.

In his press conference following the Orange’s 31-6 defeat at the hands of No. 18 North Carolina on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill, Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers confirmed that Adams and Howard are not expected to compete this fall, according to a report by Stephen Bailey of Syracuse.com.

Bailey notes that neither Adams or Howard practiced with the ‘Cuse during the squad’s pre-season camp. The team’s depth chart prior to the UNC game listed redshirt freshman Jawhar Jordan as the starting running back, with redshirt junior Markenzy Pierre slotted as the back-up at this position.

Now that Babers has confirmed that Adams and Howard are opting out in 2020, it appears Jordan and Pierre are the definitive No. 1 and No. 2 running backs, respectively, on the squad’s depth chart, at least for the time being.

Against the Tar Heels, the Orange running attack struggled. Per ESPN.com, Jordan had 14 carries for 26 yards, while Pierre collected 12 yards on five carries. Redshirt junior quarterback Tommy DeVito, in fact, led the ‘Cuse in rushing versus North Carolina, with 16 carries and 30 yards.

Both Adams and Howard accumulated more than 300 rushing yards in 2019, when Syracuse football went 5-7, and they each were expected to contend for the starting job this fall.

Adams and Howard had amounted to the top-two returning running backs, as it pertained to yardage gained last year, entering the 2020 term. Their absence from this fall’s roster is a blow to the Orange, and it’s up to Jordan and Pierre to lead the way at the position.

Separately, as Bailey reported, “Babers clarified the statuses of his two other projected starters who were not listed on the Week 1 depth chart and did not travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. Senior linebacker Tyrell Richards and redshirt junior guard Dakota Davis are injured, Babers said, and are expected to return at some point during the season.”

Bailey added, “Both Richards and Davis could provide immediate assistance to their respective position groups. The Orange’s trio of starting second-year linebackers missed a few run fits against the Tar Heels while the front five is currently leaning on 6-foot tight end/defensive tackle Chris Elmore as a starting guard.”