At least legally, a bizarre and frightening chapter in Syracuse football lore has come to an end.
Friday morning, former Syracuse defensive back Naesean Howard was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he was found guilty in the stabbings of two ex-teammates at a party last April. The district attorney’s office had been seeking a 20-year sentence.
Howard, who had “parted ways” with the football program in 2014 but ultimately returned to classes at the university, allegedly went into an unprompted and abrupt “rage” shortly after showing up at an on-campus barbecue celebrating an SU student’s birthday, first stabbing Orange defensive back Chauncey Scissum near his jaw and about his face multiple times. Corey Winfield, one of a handful of ‘Cuse football players in attendance, intervened on his teammate’s behalf and was stabbed multiple times in the arms, chest and ribs.
In court earlier today, Howard claimed that he heard voices telling him that both ex-teammates had guns and were trying to hurt him. He and his attorneys also blamed concussions sustained playing football for his actions that day.
“It wasn’t like I was trying to kill someone,” Howard said. “I was acting out of paranoia. … That day wasn’t intentional. I was going through mental stress.”
Both Scissum and Winfield remained at Syracuse for the 2016 season, but have since transferred (HERE and HERE). Winfield ultimately landed at West Virginia.
At least in the short-term, an off-field incident will have an impact on Syracuse’s roster headed into the spring portion of the offseason.
The football program announced Monday that tight end Jaquwan Nelson and safety Devon Clarke have been indefinitely suspended from all team activities by head coach Dino Babers. The twin suspensions stem from an arrest over the weekend involving a late December incident.
It’s alleged that the suspended Orange duo entered an on-campus residence Dec. 26 and stole two pairs of Yeezy boots — those alone retail for upwards of $700 per pair — a laptop computer and a PlayStation 4. Nelson was charged with second-degree burglary and fourth-degree grand larceny, while Clarke was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property in addition to second-degree burglary
Both players were three-star members of Babers’ first recruiting class. Neither saw the field as true freshmen and took redshirts.
The Syracuse Post-Standard highlights what the punitive measures could mean depth-wise in the coming weeks.
Syracuse will open spring practice March 21, with only 58 scholarship players if Nelson and Clarke are still suspended. No public timeframe has been set.
They say things happen in threes, and Jeremy Sprinkle now has company. The Arkansas tight end who missed the Belk Bowl after shoplifting from the very store that sponsored the game was joined on the jurisprudence pages by a pair of Syracuse players earlier this week.
According to the Syracuse Police Department, Orange tight end Jaquwan Nelson and safety Devon Clarke were arrested Thursday for stealing two pairs of Yeezy boots, a laptop computer and a PlayStation 4. Yeezys are boots designed by rapper Kanye West that cost in the range of $650.
Nelson was charged with second-degree burglary and fourth-degree grand larceny, while Clarke was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property in addition to second-degree burglary, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.
The arrests stemmed from an incident originally reported the day after Christmas.
Both Nelson and Clarke redshirted as freshmen in 2016. Nelson was a three-star recruit from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Clarke was a three-star prospect hailing from Kissimmee, Fla.
Syracuse has not offered public comment on the arrests as of press time.
A little over two months after leaving one former Big East football program, Corey Winfield has landed at another.
On his social media accounts Friday night, Winfield revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at West Virginia. The defensive back will be coming to Morgantown as a graduate transfer, meaning he’ll be eligible to play for the Mountaineers in 2017.
This upcoming year will be his final season of eligibility.
In late November, Winfield announced his intention to transfer from Syracuse. His departure from the Orange came not long after a rather scary incident that involved a former and then-current teammate.
Winfield was one of two ‘Cuse defensive backs who were stabbed by a former Orange defensive back, Naesean Howard, in a frightening incident last April.
Howard allegedly went into an unprompted “rage” shortly after showing up at an on-campus barbecue celebrating an SU student’s birthday, first stabbing Chauncey Scissum near his jaw. Winfield, one of a handful of ‘Cuse football players in attendance, intervened on his teammate’s behalf and was stabbed multiple times in the arms, chest and ribs.
Winfield is a two-year starter for the Orange. His four pass breakups this past season were tied for the team lead.
After less than a year away from the FBS level, Mykelti Williams is back.
On National Signing Day Wednesday, Williams announced that he has signed with Syracuse. As the defensive back comes to the ‘Cuse from the junior college ranks, Williams, who also considered Cincinnati among others, will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
He will have three years to use three remaining years of eligibility.
It was confirmed in March of 2016 that Williams would be transferring from Notre Dame. No reason for the decision was given as, entering spring practice sessions a couple of weeks prior to moving on, the defensive back had been expected to compete for a starting job. At the very least, the Indiana native was expected to play a significant role in the Irish secondary.
Williams was a four-star member of the Irish’s 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 16 safety in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Indiana; and the No. 237 player overall according to Rivals.com. He took a redshirt as a true freshman before playing at Iowa Western last season.