2022 Syracuse Football Preview: Running Backs and Fullbacks
Chris Elmore (FB)
Syracuse’s jack of all trades returns again for a sixth and final with the Orange in 2022. Elmore was a key for SU’s rushing success last season when he was used primarily as a lead blocker, but he can do more than that. The Chicago native has been used as a fullback, tight end, offensive and defensive lineman since he arrived in the 315 back in 2017. The returning offensive team captain will primarily be used as a Swiss army knife on offense and on special teams once again for the ‘Cuse in 2022.
As the only running back in the 2022 recruiting class, Allen, the 2021 Gatorade New Jersey Football Player of the Year, joins a top heavy RB room. Allen broke out at Millville High School last season rushing for 1,658 yards and 22 touchdowns. The incoming freshman is an excellent combination of both power and speed standing at 6-foot, 200 lbs. Allen also has break away speed if he reaches the edge. Expect Allen to be the favorite for the 3rd string role after a positive showing in the Spring Game with a 41-yard touchdown run.
The Redshirt Freshman Obeng-Agyapong sat out 2021 and is back for his second season in an Orange uniform. The Bronx, NY native will have to battle for reps once again in a crowded running back room behind the bell cow back Sean Tucker, and expected backups Juwan Price and Allen. Obeng-Agyapong should compete for various roles on special teams with his relatively bigger size and quick feet.
The New Mexico State transfer arrives on the Hill as the favorite backup running back behind Tucker. Price should fill in the spot left by the departure of Cooper Lutz and Abdul Adams, spelling #34 every once in a while, but also adding a speed element to the running game. The redshirt sophomore was a track star at Peoria High School in Arizona, and showed his breakaway speed recording 58 touchdowns in just 2 seasons on varsity. Price showed his speed at the college level rushing for 10 touchdowns and also returning kicks for New Mexico State. Keep an eye out for Price not only as a probable 1a to Sean Tucker but also a big kick returner for the ‘Cuse in 2022.
The Redshirt Freshman Escobar appeared in one game a year ago and returns as a depth piece once again for the ‘Cuse. The St. Anthony’s product is undersized at 5’9” 187lbs and played wide receiver in high school. Therefore, it will take at least one more season for him to develop as a running back before making an impact on the Orange offense. Look for Escobar to try and break through as a special teams contributor after getting a shot in the NC State game last season in the third phase of the game.
The crown jewel of Syracuse football, All American running back Sean Tucker. The third-year sophomore returns to the 315 coming off a historic 2021. Last season, Tucker broke the SU single season rushing record with 1,496 yards and was named an AP second-team All-American to boot. Tucker was named both a Phil Steele and Walter Camp Preseason All-American heading into 2022. The Maryland native thrived in the open field on outside zone runs as well as screen passes and we can expect much of the same this season. Also, we could expect new Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae to get Tucker more involved in the passing game as Tucker has untapped potential coming out of the backfield with only 20 receptions in 2021.
Ohio native Joe Pinjuh was a special teams star in high school and has to develop into a key special teamer to play this year for the Orange. Pinjuh is buried on the depth chart at running back for SU and when you have an All American running back and dual threat Quarterback returning, reps will be hard to come by. Pinjuh will have to use his aptitude on special teams to help the ‘Cuse in 2022.