Pro-Level Talent: The Syracuse Footballers with NFL Buzz Behind Them

Despite an up-and-down season, Syracuse has a few players on the NFL radar.


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It was around this time last year when his name starting spreading around the nation. QB Ryan Nassib started setting the SU records, and subsequently his name was shooting up NFL draft boards. The most prolific passer in Syracuse history was slated anywhere as a first- to fourth-rounder in the 2013 NFL draft, providing Syracuse fans with the hope that perhaps the Orange would have two consecutive seasons with first-round draft picks after Bill Belichick nabbed Chandler Jones the previous year.

Who will be the first Syracuse player off the board this year? Many draft rankings have multiple members of the Orange football roster going in the first few rounds. The highest rated Syracuse player is left tackle Sean Hickey. He’s projected by CBS Sports to be selected in the third round, and is ranked as the 11th-best tackle in the 2014 class. The 6’5”, 290-lb O-lineman will have a decision on hands this winter because he is eligible for one more year at Syracuse. Injury is always the risk when pondering over returning for another season or going pro, but in the 2015 NFL draft, Hickey is ranked as the fifth-best tackle, up six spots.

The most interesting ranking, according to CBS Sports, is Jay Bromley. Syracuse’s best lineman is currently projected as a fifth- or sixth-rounder. That will surely rise. The senior has racked up nine sacks, which is tied for fourth in the ACC, and is wreaking havoc up the middle on the line. His stock will rise just like Chandler Jones’ did a couple years ago. Syracuse has been in the spotlight a bit more this season than in years past thanks to more televised ACC games, but once scouts and teams see more of his tape during the offseason, he could potentially be a top third-round pick.

Some of the lineman that he battled with this past Saturday against Florida State are going to be the same size as many of the prospects that he’ll be going up against in the NFL. Bromley told the Fizz he is confident that he can hang with the best at any level.

“I can play with anybody in the country, I’m not worried about that. They can put one guy on me, but I feel I can take on any one guy in the country, and I’ll keep playing from there as far as the individual aspect of it. You could be 6’8” 500 lbs, but I’m not backing down from anybody.”

Bromley really has been exceptional all year. Staying on the defensive side, Keon Lyn is also projected as a sixth-rounder despite his injury. He’s rated as one of the top 20 cornerbacks in the draft, and his position will rely on his health and whether or not he can make it back in time for Syracuse’s Pro Day.

SU still has one more player that is settling on the 2014 NFL Draft boards, and it’s the most interesting case. RB Jerome Smith is projected to go in the sixth round of the upcoming draft. A 5-carry, 1-yard day like he had against Florida State surely won’t help the stock down the stretch of this season, but likely for Orange fans, he could care less about his 2014 draft stock with one more year of eligibility remaining.

“I want to enjoy college, I’m enjoying college, I don’t want to be in the real world yet. I haven’t really thought about [the draft], my only goal is taking care of this team and when that [draft] situation comes up, me and my family will deal with it, but right now I’m loving college,” Smith said.

At this point in the year, that’s the right answer from Smith. What’s more important now is whether or not Syracuse can notch a bowl berth. But let’s say Smith finished the year with three straight 100-yard rushing days (his final two opponents Pittsburgh and Boston College give up close to 200 yards rushing each, and let’s account for a bowl game), that would put the junior up over 1,000 yards rushing for a second consecutive season.

Achieving that feat in the ACC is much more credible than the Big East. From a monetary perspective, if Smith is a guaranteed fifth- or sixth-rounder at minimum this upcoming spring, then it might be beneficial to declare. But he did pick up another year for eligibility for a reason, and in the 2015 draft, early rankings have him plugged in as the seventh-best tailback. Like the big fella said, let’s see how this season finishes up.

It’s pretty clear, though, that for a fifth consecutive season, the Orange will have someone drafted this spring.

Posted by: Kevin Fitzgerald

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49 Comments on this Post

  1. Two things!! If USC doesn’t take Eddie Boy for their HC SU should offer-NOW!! Big fan of HCSS, but he’s not doing it-3 blowouts show that and no “O” to speak of(can you remember the last TD catch from the QB. I know this won’t happen, but it could if SU loses the next 2 games!! And Smith is not NFL ready. If he goes its for the $$$$$$$ only. THEN by-by Mr. Smith. The BC RB is NFL ready your not-sorry!! Also he is hard to catch from behind too!!

    Do Not Forget the kids of PSABUSEDU!! THE NCAA did!

  2. KevMonstah

    I don’t want to seem unhappy with him, but I do hope Jerome has 2-3 great games and does go pro, and it’s not because I think he’s not a good back. He’s a solid, 1000 yard guy, and an excellent option when you having a good passing attack, but if he comes back, I want him in a reduced role. I think, with SU not having a good passing game, that they need scoring threats from the RB position on as many plays as they can, and I don’t think Smith offers that. He has shown he’s excellent when you have a passing game, but I think when the defense can pretty much ignore the receivers, he does not provide enough explosiveness from the RB position as others do on the roster. It’s pretty obvious the passing attack is not loosening up the defense, and the running game is clearly suffering. He’s a class act, and a solid player, but he’s not enough of a gamebreaker.

    Does Marquis Spruill have any hope for the NFL?


  3. @Terry;

    If you remember Ed Orgeron waas an assistant here once before. People didn’t like him because,rumors were swirling around Syracuse that he liked to drink a lot and his personality was hardnosed and people didn’t like that.

    End result,he was let go from Syracuse.

  4. Jay Bromley will have lots of success at the next level. I hope that Lyn makes a speedy recovery so he has a chance. Hickey I feel will go pro after the season is over. I’m surprised that Spruills name isn’t on that list. I think that he will make a good LB in the pros.

  5. Ron, while much of what you say may be true, we had a gem of a college coach in Ed O. I for one was sad to see him go, and that was before I knew what a great recruiter he is. Now for Terry to suggest that hiring Eddie O would produce more offense is a silly statement. Lack of offense is one of the things that got him ousted from Ole Miss. That said, he’s found and put more guys in the NFL on the D side of the ball than anyone I can think of. And he coached Dewayne “The Rock” Johnson, so there’s that.

  6. And not that I am looking to replace SS at all, but didnt’ that staff also have Rogers and Addazio? That ’95-’96 team had some coaching talent!

  7. thesackster

    jay bromley,hickey,lyn,spruill,wales,wilkes,zjones, i feel will get a shot at the nfl.

  8. saltine44

    Watched G. Morris and Devante live in Tallahassee on Saturday and love how they find their way in small spaces, Morris is fast!

  9. Malone I never said he would produce a better “O”. He might of had alot better results than HCSS!! I just feel he’s better than what SU has NOW!!

    Ron those are rumors and that man can recruit better than any one on SU’s staff now!! I always like him. A real players coach!! But he did have that rough side to him and that can go both ways.

    Bromley and Hickey(super disapointment this year) are the two NFLers. I will never forget that HSFB allstar game he(Bromley) showed up at the Dome. That made him. And it probably was his best Dome game so far-really!!

  10. @Terry,Malone

    Look I liked Ed Orgeron as a coach here. I’m not making a big deal about the man tipping a few,I mean after all he was/is over 21 years old at the time. I tryint to remember if he came to us from Ole Miss.or was it the Florida Gators? I don’t begrudge the guy for tipping a few at all. I think what got the guy in trouble here was his straight forwardness and wasn’t afraid to tell you exactly how things should be and got in your face when doing it. Terry you and I are the same way,aren’t we? The one thing I do know about him is that he’s one hell of a recruiter. The USC fans are going crazy over him. He got a top OL to flip from Alabama and join the USC program,he’s also got 4-5 top ESPN 300 players in California to commit to the program. He may not be the most handsome person to lead the team but the guy can coach.

    Like @Malone said,take a moment to look back at the coaches that Syracuse has had here that have left the program and made it at other schools or better yet in the NFL. Boggles the mind just thinking about it and leads one to ask the question as to why or how come they left?

  11. I remember 5 years ago when Marrone offered a 245 lb DE Jayson Bromley from NYC a scholarship to Syracuse. His high schoool coach called into the Danny Parkins radio show and told us all what we were getting,that by the time Jayson came to Syracuse he would be heavier and would be moved to the defensive line probably as a tackle.

    I got to know Jayson and have talked with him from the first time he walked into the store as a freshman. I’ve watched the kid grow into a 6’4″ 305 lb force of a man. His upper body is just unbelievable,his arms are like steel pillars “big and strong”. His parents have to be proud,very proud of what he’s accomplished. He’s done everything the coaching staff has asked of him and as far as I concerned a stellar career at Syracuse. After talking to him one night in the store and telling him that he would playing on Sunday afternoons his response in his soft spoken voice to me was” I’m blessed to be playing the game that I love and thank God for giving me the opportunity to do so. I wish him well,I also dream/hope that Syracuse could/would find 10-15 more just like him. That would be a force to reckon with if we could.

    Jayson will graduate in May 2014 after a stellar 4 year career at Syracuse University. I’ve asked him to stop by before he leaves school so I can talk to him one more time to say goodby. He’s one of the finest and nicest young men that you would ever want to meet. He deserves all that is about to come his way. He’s earned it.

  12. @Terry;

    Just to show you how fickle the recruiting of a player is and the different ways players come to any program. We all should thank Ishaq Williams and his dad for directing him to commit to ND. If he would have come to Syracuse as we all hoped,chances are that Marrone would never have gone down to NYC to watch that all star game in which Jayson Bromley(out played Ishaq Williams)was noticed and given a scholarship to attend Syracuse Universaity. I for one am glad that Jayson came to Syracuse.

  13. John Raymon is going to enter the hospital to get his leg and knee operated on,on Friday. I hope everything works out for him and he returns to the playing field better/meaner than ever.

    Good luck John.

  14. @Malone;

    I’m not looking to replace Scott Shafer either. He’s a first time head coach of a BCS Fottball program. Let’s give the man his 4/5 years and see what happens then. He’s elevated the recruiting process and has/is going after better talent. We just need to be patient and wait for the results.

    Malone isn’t it funny how blind people can be at times,by not evaluating/realizing the type of person that you have as a member of your coaching staff?

  15. @Terry;

    If I remember correctly wasn’t Ed Orgeron full of brimstone and fire when he was on the sidelines at Syracuse. He was working along side of Paul Pasqualoni in 95-96 wasn’t he? I’m suggesting that maybe just MAYBE, that along with his drinking was just to much for Pasqualoni to handle.

    Jump forward and look at where the two are today;

    After firing HC Lane Griffin, interim HC Ed Orgeron has coached the USC Trojans to 6-1 and maybe get invitied to the Rose Bowl.

    Paul Pasqualoni was let go as the head coach of UCONN after starting the 2013 season 0-5.

    Enough said,I rest my case.

  16. It’s going to be an exciting game on Saturday,oddsmakers have Syracuse as a 1 1/2 point favorite in the contest against Pittsburgh.

  17. KevMonstah

    Before jumping up and down and saying how great Orgeron was/could be here, he was not exactly a rousing success at his first stop at Mississippi, compiling a 10-25 overall record, 3-21 in the conference. He is obviously a very good recruiter, but even with talent far superior (the low class listed during six years he was there was 39th) to what SU gets, he didn’t succeed.


  18. 4 or 5 years for HCSS=RON!! Your nuts to think that after next year. SU’s record for the past decades or so has been very poor. With all of its hired coaches!! Not many winning seasons. 7 wins a year the best for only 2 seasons so far. WOW!! One thing is that we know they won’t fire a coach unless the program collapses, then its to late. What bothers me about HCSS is he does beat the teams he should. He just beats the teams that are down for whatever reason. And most of all he can’t coach up players for the big boys. They manhandle SU in an embarrassing way(like being in a PSU shower room). I’ll give HCSS this year and next but I still don’t feel any love for this program since the firing of Coach P. By that 2013 is average at best and recruiting will not be any better than the years before. Wake up people SU is in that circle of no hope. Unless a savior shows. Is that HCSS so far its ify!!

    Rumor has it that EDDIE O is wanted for the UConn job!! Look out for that!! HCSS and staff lose to many NE talent as it is now. SU will definitely lose some to UConn if EDDIE O shows up there. But I’d still give him a shot at USC!!

    Ron-JB is one hell of a player. My grandkids favorite player on SU. He signed their hats. Grandmom want to wash them(dishwaher-it does work) but the little one’s are fighting that hard=cute!! GrandMom has no idea huh!!

    Another issue with HCSS!! Please let us know if any visits of NON-VERBAL players coming to either of the home games. I can’t see why HCSS doesn’t agree with that. This one I hope I’m wrong on, but if SU ends up rated in the 60’s, after signing day, you’ll hear me bitch about this stupid move of HCSS. SU has to be low 50’s and improve every year for this program to grow. Right now they average mid to low 60’s that sucks-sorry!!

  19. @KevMonstah;

    I guess you could say “YOU SHOULDN’T/CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER”.

    This was taken from Ed Orgeron’s history of coaching. At first I thought he came from the Florida Gator program he doidn’t,it was the Miami Hurricanes.

    In 1995 he joined Paul Pasqualoni’s staff at Syracuse where he coached defensive line for three years. Orgeron credits Pasqualoni for taking a chance on him after his earlier personal issues and helping him develop as a coach both on and off the field.

    As I recall watching Syracuse during 1995 thru to 1997, he helped Syracuse achieve the following;
    (1995) 9-3 record and a Gator Bowl appearance against Clemson winning 41-0

    (1996) 9-3 record beat Houston in the Liberty Bowl 30-17

    (1997) 9-4 record Beat Wisconsin in the Kickoff Classic 34-0 and Lost to Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl 35-18

    The conclusion that I’ve come too is that coach Ed Orgeron was very sucessful here at Syracuse and in 1998 was hired by USC where he’s coaching at now.


    I made a statement earlier that I thought his release was from the rumors about his drinking,after reading his biography his drinking problems started way before he arrived at Syracuse and maybe I was wrong about it leading up to his release at Syracuse. The guy was very successful here and Paul Hackett hired him away from us to be the defensive coordinator at USC where he is noe the interim head coach of the Trojans.

  20. @Terry;

    did you get a chance to talk to Jayson? He’s great kid,I’m glad he signed the grandkids hats. It had to be a special time for them and one that they won’t forget for a long time.

  21. Terry,I mentioned we give Coach Shafer 4/5 years to improve the team because it takes a new coach 4 years to purge the system and get the type of players that he wants into the system the play the type of that he want’s to install. Then in the 5th year we can assess the team for what it is or isn’t. There isn’t a coach out there that will come in here and change this program in a week,month or even a year’s time. All we need to do is be patient.

  22. Over the summer officals of the “Little Ceasar’s Bowl’ changed the conferences that would be playing in the game on Dec. 26th.

    It used to be the BIG Conference vs MAC and now it’s the “BIG vs ACC”. The reason I mention this is if Syracuse beats Pittsburgh on Saturday people are projecting Syracuse to be the ACC representative playing at Ford Field in Detroit on the 26th against a BIG team.

    I know it’s not one of the BCS games but if you haven’t been to Ford Field to watch a game,I’ll be the first to tell you it’s worth the trip. If they win on Saturday I will tgell my son to buy tickets to the game because I will be spending Christmas in in Detroit this year.

  23. Sorry for making the statement”Syracuse favored by 1.5 points” in Saturday’s game.

    I going to give my son hell for giving me the wrong information,Pittsburgh is the 1 point favorite on Saturday.

  24. Not lighting a fire under Shafers seat in any way either Ron. I was at SU for some Ed O. I loved the guy. He came from Miami (that’s where he coached “The Rock”) as well as Russel Maryland Cortez Kennedy and Warren Sapp I believe. He was a D-line specialist, and that was his role here. He had a drinking problem that got him to us. He is an in your face guy and had a hell of a mouth on him. Mother F***er was his favorite and he said it with that great creole accent. I think that’s what gets the recruits. I think some of his lack of success is due to what he inherited from Cutcliff, who was only hired to make sure Eli Manning went there instead of Tenn. The guy is an extrordinary recruiter and defensive coach. He needs O help. I see a lot of that in Shafer. I think we are in for some surprises yet this class and I am hearing there will be a pretty good “unofficial” crowd at the game this weekend. Sykes is coming in Dec. Hallmon and Hudson will make a trip. Based on AJ Long’s twitter feed, we are still working Holley. I think we get Ishmael and possibly that other 6′-6″ TE candidate from Fla to go along with the 6′-6″ Custis and the 6′-2″ KJ so we are getting a good mix of big and small skill players. I want to give McD time to get his pieces in place before I cast him or anyone else out, but feel now is a good time to get an NJ recruiter in house.

  25. @Malone;

    Great post kiddo,couldn’t have said it any better or agreed with any stronger.

    When you put the quite reserved guy (Pasqualoni)next to a guy like(Orgeron)you know the fireworks are going to happen. I would put more stock into that reason as to why he left Syracuse.

    I compare Scott Shafer to Ben Schwartzwalder. If Shafer put on a pair of black rimmed glasses they would almost be identical twins including their personalities.

  26. I’m watching the UCF/Rutgers game and I was shocked when the announcers said that the UCF RB William Stanback was headed to Syracuse because Syracuse was the only school to offer him at the time.

    Then Marrone decides to leave for Buffalo and the scholarship was dropped. Does it sound familar people,the very same thing happened when pasqualoni was fired hello Ray Rice.

    UCF was the only other D1 tgeam to offer this kid a scholarship. The thing that really gets me is the kid is from Hempstead NY. Truly frigging amazing.

    Freshman William Stanback is only 5’11” 205 lbs and runs through defensive lines like he was riding a bulldozer,and we let him go. What the hell is going on?

  27. The name is familiar. That said, I assume it was a conditional offer. We had committable offers to at least two other RBs (Gus Edwards and the speedy guy from NYC that went to Indiana). Possible that offer wasn’t dropped so much as “not picked up” (we waited too long on those other guys).

  28. Laray Smith! Sorry I forgot that one. So I don’t see that we offered Stanback. The kid was way under the radar despite showing well at combines. Left most wondering if there was something in his background that didn’t look good. Grades? Marrone sniffed him, but O’Leary had the inside track as this kids HS coach… get this… played for O’Leary at… Syracuse. He and Marrone were a year apart it seems. Maybe he and Doug didn’t get along?

  29. I thought I heard last night he was coming here until the Dougie went to Buffalo and HCSS decided to go elsewhere so his HS coach gave O’leary a call and he came up to take a look after seeing some tape on him?At least thats how Jesse Palmer explained it?…On another topic sometimes it don’t take 4 or 5 yrs to see the HC is not cutting it!! See UConn and PP who should’nt have been hired in the 1st place as Burton said and KF at RU who seems lost as a HC even with talent??There’s more than meets the eye down there? I hope we can capitalize on it before they hire someone who can coach?KF seems to nice to be a HC but what do I know?Its about W’s+ Losses not how nice you are.I don’t see him there in 2 weeks!?!What happened between Fresno+Arky and Houston?My guess their lucky to get a bowl?

  30. Russ both yoou and Terry might be right in saying that it doesn’t take 4-5 years to develope a good coach. I’m willing to wait give the guy a chance. I could be wrong in doing so but I feel the best is yet to come for Coach Shafer.

    The announcers during the RU/UCF game said last night that William Stanback was headed to Syracuse until Marrone left for Buffalo and that’s when the offer to him was dropped.

    Wow Russell,do you actually think that the HC of RU will be gone after next week? I will admit RU didn’t look good at all lastnight.

  31. Ron,Im not sure if they will but the fanbase(and as a NJ native I know many)want him gone but as we know us fans are very fickle? I know if I was the RU AD with B1G money soon ready to flow I’d consider spending B1G on a proven winner even if from a MAC school or a smaller conference after careful evaluation of KF!Remember he’s a lifetime AC with no HCing experience?I’m hoping we don’t run into similar problems here by hiring on the cheap??Somehow I think HCSS knows what he’s doing!?! I hope.

  32. How is Marquis Spruill not mentioned in this article? You could make a pretty convincing argument that he is the best player on the team. I think just about every NFL team would pick him over Keon Lyn, hands down. Bromley I agree with as well as Hickey. But no Spruill -give me a break.

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