When a new coaching staff takes over a team, they approach the roster with a fresh set of eyes and an open mind about who will be able to contribute for them. Nobody has benefited more from the new staff with the Syracuse Orange, perhaps, than senior wide receiver Adrian Flemming. Is he ready to step out from the shadows and be a leader on offense?
New head coach Scott Shafer desperately needed to find someone to step up this spring from the receiving corps. The Orange lost their top two receivers from 2012 in Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales who combined for 137 catches, 1,956 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns a year ago. Only one wide receiver, senior Jarrod West, returns in 2013 who had more than a dozen catches last season.
The opportunity was there during the spring, but few would have pegged Flemming as the leading candidate to step up and start opposite West. The senior played primarily on special teams in 2011 and hasn’t recorded a single catch in his Syracuse career. There are defensive players on the roster for 2013 that have had more offensive production than Flemming.
But coaches have raved about his work this spring, praising his consistency and toughness, especially when going across the middle. The 6-foot-3, 204-pound wideout has developed his game through offseason workouts to become a physical receiver that can get off press coverage or block downfield. Coaches have said Flemming created a role for himself through his play and will have the opportunity to be a major factor in the passing game next fall.
He isn’t the option that most Orange fans would have expected to step up in 2013, but Adrian Flemming is on the verge of becoming a major part of the Syracuse attack in 2013. Can he make the most of the opportunity?