My 2023 SU Football Preview - Part 6 |

My 2023 SU Football Preview - Part 6


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011
Juniors: #34 JJ Branham 5-10 205, #28 Juwaun Price 5-10 208
Sophomores: #20 LeQuint Allen 6-0 195, #33 Mario Escobar 5-9 188, #22 Deston Hawkins 6-0 200,
Freshmen: #31 Tyler Chandler 5-8 170, #23 Ike Daniels 5-11 188, #25 Josh Escobar 5-8 170, #21 Muwaffaq Parkman 5-11 180

Sean Tucker was one of the very best running backs in the country in 2021, leading the country in rushing for much of the year. He gained 1,498 yards on 246 carries (6.1) and ran for a dozen touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 255 yards (12.8) and 2TDs. Every time he got the ball you thought he was going to score. In 2022, he was good, but no longer great. He gained 1,060 yards rushing on 206 caries (5.1) with 11 scores and caught 36 passes, but for only 248 yards (6.9) and two scores. That’s not bad, but it includes the dreadful Wagner game, where the Seahawks asked for 10 minute quarters in the second half to hold the score down. Sean rushed for 232 yards and three scores on 23 carries and caught two passes for 15 yards. That meant that, in the other 11 games, he rushed for 828 yards on 183 carries (4.5) with 8TDs. The decline in his performance was attributed to many things: His personal lead blocker, Chris Elmore, went down for the season in the first quarter of the first game. The offensive line took some other hits, too, and had to be patched together with reserves, youngers players and guys playing hurt. I noticed that we were no longer using the highly productive play from 2021 where Shrader could hand the ball to Tucker or keep it and run in the opposite direction. Others felt it was an injury to Tucker, who three times had to be helped off the field. Then, in the spring, Tucker had to bow out of SU’s Pro day for the scouts to see their pro prospects work out. He then went undrafted. It was revealed that he had been diagnosed with a heart condition. He was then cleared and has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. Now we have to find a replacement, someone who can at least run the ball well enough to keep the defense honest and who could contribute to the passing game as well.

The candidates involve two veterans, two junior college players, two freshmen and two walk-ons – who are brothers!

LeQuint Allen was pressed into service as a true freshman first to back up Tucker and then replace him for the bowl game, which Sean opted out of. “LA” was a 3 star out of New Jersey, the #83 running back prospect in the nation. Sean had been a 3-star, the #59 RB. LeQuint got 112 yards on just four carries and a score against Wagner after he replaced Sean in the second half, (he had a 90 yard non-scoring run), but had only run for 68 in our other 11 games, so no one knew what to expect in the bowl game against Minnesota, (Sean had opted out). We lost, (mostly because of special teams problems and a pick 6) but LeQuint had a fine game, rushing for 94 yards on 15 carries (6.3) and catching no less than 11 passes for 60 yards, although he didn’t score. (This against what statistically was the #4 defense in the country.) He looked like he might be an adequate replacement for Sean, perhaps not a superstar but a versatile back that would fit well into our offense.

Allen played in the spring game and everyone was excited for fall practice when it was announced that Allen was suspended for a fight he was involved in at a party back in December, a fight that took place before the bowl game and the spring game – so the was suspended for the fall semester and thus couldn’t play for the football team. The incident appears to involve defensive back Duce Chestnut getting coming to Allen to report that a guy at the party was throwing punches at football players, (a poor idea unless you’re Tyson Fury). This suggests that Allen, as a freshman, already had a leadership role on the team. Anyway, Allen confronted the guy who started throwing punches at him and LeQuint returned fire. The punchee went to the police and gave a story he changed multiple times. Ultimately It was decided to dismiss the case but LeQuint found himself called before a school disciplinary board for violating the university’s code of conduct. He was told that he could not claim self-defense and that it was his responsibility to make sure the complainant was at the hearing, even though he’d been ordered to stay away from him. The board then suspended him, an act DA William Fitzpatrick called “Kafkaesque”. A proposal to do community service instead was rejected. Allen then went to court and got an injunction allowing him to play in the fall, to the relief of Coach Babers and Orange Nation.

The Pinstripe Bowl highlights don’t contain any of LeQuint’s plays because he didn’t score. So here are his highlights vs. Wagner. I still don’t know how those FCS guys caught him on the 90 yard run. He doesn’t seem to have Tucker’s full-out speed:
LeQuint Allen highlights - Bing video

The other veteran is Juwaun (or is it Juwuan?) Price, who transferred here from New Mexico State, where, in 2021, he’d rushed for 692 yards in 135 carries (5.1) and scored 10 times while catching 26 passes for 173 yards (6.7). We’d take that. But he did that at New Mexico State, not in the ACC. He was a 2-star, the #172 RB in the country. Still, people thought he’d be the #2 running back here until Allen beat him out. He still gives us an experienced #3 – if he can hold off the JUCOs and the freshmen.

His NMS highlights:

He can shake and bake, has some speed and jumps over a guy.

Worrying about the LeQuint Allen situation and not wanting to entrust the #3 spot to one of the two freshmen coming in, (unless they can earn it), Dino picked up two interesting JUCO running backs who have the fans excited. JJ Branham was a 3 star out of Columbus, Ohio back in 2019 and the 61st best running back in the country. He went to Eastern Michigan, redshirted without appearing in any games, then hit the portal, feeling that EMU “wasn’t the right fit” for him. To his shock, he got no offers. He was out of football for two years, even homeless at one point. Then he was contacted by Blinn Junior College in Texas – the same place Chance Amie went to. He led the team, rushing for 648 yards and seven touchdowns on 107 carries, (6.1) and was all conference.

Here is his highlight tape at Blinn:

He’s a combative, bowling ball-type runner who runs like he intends to never be homeless again.

Deston Hawkins is from California, where 247 rated him 3 stars and the #6 (that’s what it says) RB in his class. He went right to Foothill Junior College, where he put up big numbers last season: rushing for 1,164 yards and 18 touchdowns on 8.5 yards per carry in 10 games. He also caught six passes for 95 yards and a score.

His highlights:

He’s a big back, (might be 220+ before he leaves here) and has good straight-ahead power, (he’s a ‘shortest distance between two points guy’), and speed, although he also shows some good moves on the last play in the video.

The two well-rated freshmen are Ike Daniels and the wonderfully named Muwaffaq Parkman. Ike is a 3 star out of Virginia, ranked the 60th best RB in his class. “Ran for over 1,700 yards as a senior, totaling more than 2,000 all-purpose yards. Had 99 yard TD runs in consecutive weeks.” He refuses to cut his hair, saying he’s “like Samson”. His highlight film:

Senior Year

He’s got plenty of speed, (his teammates who aren’t in the game exhaust themselves running down the sidelines in celebration). He uses as much of it as he needs. Once he’s past the defense, like Jim Brown, he goes into a trot, looking over his should rather than wasting energy dramatically accelerating into the end zone. He also shows plenty of toughness in the latter part of the clip.

Parkman is a 3 star from New Jersey, the 109th best ‘athlete’ in the country. He’s run a 4.3 forty yard dash, (unknown if hand or electronically timed). "I can do everything," Parkman said. "Offense, defense, I'm just an athlete. I'm going to work. I'm going to be the next big thing out of Syracuse when I get there. You're going to hear my name. I bring speed, everything in a back you want. I can block, catch, do it all." (Mike McAllister)

His highlights:

Year 3

He looks like a football player, not just a track star. I like his confidence.

Mario and Josh Escobar are walk-ons who have shown well in the spring games but not done much in the fall games, except for special teams, (Mario had a 37 yard kickoff return against Wake Forest.) Josh has yet to appear in a game. Tyler Chandler is another walk-on with a similar career path.

Our running back room seems well-stocked with intriguing talents. I suspect we may be using a lot of them, rather than making one guy the feature back. We’ve got five 3-stars plus Mr. Price for one, (maybe two sometimes?) positions. That seems like pretty good depth.

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