Syracuse’s Gridiron Success in 2014 Lies in Ashton Broyld’s Development

Will the emergence of a go-to receiver for Terrel Hunt be the secret to success this season?

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One major part of the passing game that was missing last season was a go-to receiver for Terrel Hunt. Last year, some thought Jarrod West would be the go-to receiver after a big spring game, but it never really panned out. This year, Ashton Broyld was the star of the spring game, grabbing eight passes for 126 yards. Broyld had, by far, the best game of any receiver in the spring scrimmage. He needs to continue this throughout the season and give Terrel Hunt that go-to receiver.

Yes, Broyld is moving to his third position since coming to SU, but this might finally be the right place for him on the field. Throughout last season, it was apparent that Broyld was more and more comfortable with playing receiver. He started moving to the outside as opposed to lining up as an “H-Back” in the slot or backfield. Broyld seemed to morph into the threat that fans hoped that West would be.

Broyld is the most important player for the development and success of Terrel Hunt this season. Hunt clearly lacked the go-to pass catcher last year, and this year, Broyld can be the safety blanket Hunt can look to before trying to take off and run. That is important for a young, mobile QB. Something Hunt fell into last year was looking to run and taking off before he really needed to because he didn’t know where to go with the ball. Part of this is on Hunt, part of it is on the offensive line, and part of it is on the receivers. This year, the line is probably going to be suspect again with the loss of Macky MacPherson, but the receivers and Hunt should both be better. The growth of Broyld as a receiver will be vital to the success of Hunt and the offense because Hunt needs that guy he can look to when the pocket collapses.

If Broyld can get open the way he did towards the end of last year and in the spring game, he will be the biggest factor on the Syracuse offense. For a team whose passing game was down last year, and running game is a bit of an unknown this year. Of course running backs Prince-Tyson Gulley, George Morris II and Devante McFarlane are all returning players, but none of the three has been in a lead running back role at the college level.

Because of unknowns with the running game, it is even more important for Hunt and the passing game to be successful. The biggest key to that success will hinge on the success of Ashton Broyld’s transition to receiver.

Posted by: Seth Goldberg 

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