The Fresh Prince Reviews the Syracuse Football Team

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With just 3 days left until Syracuse kicks off their inaugural year in the ACC, I know you’re struggling. You talked all offseason about how this was THE year. “This is it”, you said, the year you finally hopped on board with Syracuse football. But now we’re 3 days out, you don’t know who the heck is playing quarterback and you’re pretty worried about you’re soft nose fitting in with Scott Shafer’s new plan. Well, here’s some good news: the Fresh Prince is here, as he is every year, to review the Syracuse Football roster with yours truly.

Quarterback

drew

Ok, so we don’t have a quarterback yet. That could be a bit of a problem moving forward. From the start of summer practices into this week, the quarterback position has been a two man race. Redshirt sophomore Terrell Hunt has the experience of two seasons at Syracuse as scout team quarterback, but he’s fighting an uphill battle against fifth year senior transfer Drew Allen, who has the pedigree and the arm to “throw the damn thing 70 yards” according to Scott Shafer. Shafer won’t announce a starter until game day, but the smart money is on Allen to fill the shoes and giant helmet left behind by Ryan Nassib.

Fresh Prince says:

shrug

Running Back

Now we’re talking. Running back is the moneymaker position this season for Syracuse as the team returns two players who rushed for a total of 2,001 yards last year. Redshirt junior Jerome Smith should have every carry accompanied by a DMX beat. Senior Prince Tyson Gulley brings a different, bouncy style that led to 269 total yards in the Pinstripe Bowl last year. Behind those two are redshirt freshmen George Morris II and Devante McFarlane, both of whom would be starting in any other year at Syracuse.

Running back is unquestionably the strongest position for the Orange this season. Jerome Smith is aiming for another 1,000 yard season, and in my opinion, should be the guy to bring back the 44 jersey. Gulley compliments Smith’s style well and should also help the passing game. Syracuse coaches have been raving about the freshmen ever since they lit up bowl practices last year. The hope for Syracuse is that the passing game opens up enough so that opposing teams can’t stack the box with eight guys, causing Rome Smith’s hay to never make it in that barn. That would be tragic.

Fresh Prince says:

dance

fly

Tight End

wales

The tight end position is like a one man cold at Syracuse University. Beckett Wales is the only one catching it, and Beckett Wales is the only one coming down with it. There’s a few freshmen behind Wales that may see the field — namely Josh Parris, Kendall Moore, and Aaron Batten — but with limited opportunities for tight ends in new Offensive Coordinator George MacDonald’s offense, this is Beckett Wales’s show.

Fresh Prince Says:

deal

Offensive Line

Macky MacPherson

Years ago when quarterback Andrew Robinson lost the starting job an anonymous assistant gave a simple reason for the switch: “He can’t throw a spiral.” 😦 😦 😦 Robinson had good reason for the failure however, considering he played behind an offensive line that couldn’t block a toddler’s jump shot. After a decade of killing quarterbacks such as Robinson, Killa Cam Dantley, and Greg Paulus, Syracuse finally had a formidable offensive line last season, and one that was considered by many as the best in the Big East. The Orange returns three starters from that line and five players that have significant experience. Left tackle and left guard Sean Hickey and Rob Trudo have a future in professional football, Macky Macpherson is the rock and the brains of the group, and Nick Robinson and Ivan Foy make up a right side that has promise. Additionally, Kyle Knapp, Omari Palmer, and Jason Emerich make good depth for this group. Sure there’s a chance that the line could relapse to the old ways, but the Fresh Prince and I are feeling optimistic here.

Fresh Prince Says:

yep

Wide Receivers

jarrod

Here’s where we blow it. Sure, the Orange have some players who can make people miss with the ball in their hands, but the group seems to be lacking players with the ability to make plays on the ball down the field. Jarrod West tallied up 588 yards last season as a solid number three, so he will have to step up to fill that number one role this season. West is flanked on the other side by senior Adrian Flemming, who has racked up a solid career with zero total catches for zero yards and zero touchdowns. ZOINKS. In the slot is Ashton Broyld, who has the most natural ability on the team, but he had this little problem of learning the playbook last season. If you’re looking for guys to step up behind the starters, well, you’re going to have to look pretty hard. Hot Hands Jeremiah Kobena has 4.3 speed but he’ll have to imagine the ball as a roll of toilet paper if he ever wants to catch it. Freshman Brisly Estime has impressed at camp, but he recently tweeted “damn worst practice ever!!!!!!!” so that can’t be good. Redshirt freshmen Ben Lewis and Alivn Cornelius are just names on the depth chart at this point in time. The Fresh Prince is concerned.

Fresh Prince Says:

concern

Defense

Defensive Line

jay

Were it not for a little incident of burglary, Syracuse would have a very experienced starting defensive line. Defensive End Markus Pierce-Brewster and defensive tackle Davon Walls kinda got busted for stealing an apartment’s worth of electronics and the two were booted from the team and now Syracuse has serious pass rush concerns. Starting ends Micah Robinson and Rob Welsh are solid players, but have a total of 1.5 sacks combined for their careers. Jay Bromley anchors the defensive tackle position and has a chance of being drafted next spring — impressive for a kid that didn’t have a Division 1 scholarship offer until just a few weeks before his freshman season. Redshirt freshman Ron Thompson has moved from tight end with the hope that the athleticism that labeled him a four star prospect will translate to providing some pass rush. Finally, true freshman Isaiah Johnson has shot up the depth chart and should see time right away. It’s not a great group, but it could be worse, I guess?

Fresh Prince Says:

de

Linebackers

Yessir let’s talk about the linebackers. Linebacker U is back at Syracuse. Four year starter Marquis Spruill mans the middle, flanked by three year starter Dyshawn Davis and blitzing missle Cam Lynch on the outside. Spruill is the solid, steady player while Davis is the freak capable of BIG PLAYS and Lynch is the specialist. There’s solid depth here as well, with JUCOs Luke Arcinega, Josh Kirkland, and true freshman Marqez Hodge having good returns at camp this summer. If you’re looking for tackles for loss and a pass rush, it’s probably going to come from this crew.

Fresh Prince Says:

lbs

Secondary

keon

Rumor has it that second round NFL draft pick Robert Woods and future top five NFL draft pick Marquise Lee considered the Syracuse corners the toughest ones they faced all of last year. Of course, I can’t find that anywhere so it may be complete BS. But with or without that compliment Syracuse has a talented group in the secondary. Three of the four starters at corner and safety return in Durrell Eskridge, Ri’Shard Anderson, and Keon Lyn. Lyn is particularly looking for a breakout year, after having three interceptions in the last three games of last season, including Syracuse’s first pick-six since the Pasqualoni era. Junior Brandon Reddish and sophomore Julian Whigham will see time at corner as well. At safety, Eskridge will start alongside Jerami Wilkes, who had a big forced fumble in the win vs. Pitt last season but needs to make more plays to hold on to his starting job over sophomore Wayne “lights out” Morgan (self-given nickname).  Overall, this is one of the deepest, strongest secondaries the Orange have had in years, which is important with the new ACC schedule this season.

Fresh Prince Says:

corners

Bottom line, this Syracuse team has the talent to get to another bowl game this season, and anything less than six wins would be a major disappointment. After a good bit of debate the Fresh Prince and I have agreed on… 7 wins. See you at the Pinstripe Bowl again.

orange

knock

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