A New Look for the Orange: Sizing up 2014’s Defensive Backfield

The secondary struggled in ACC play last year. Will the Orange be better prepared for 2014?

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Yesterday the Fizz took a look at the offensive line situation for the upcoming season, and previously we looked at the receivers and running backs as well. Another major area for the team is the defensive backs group. Going into next season, the defensive backfield will look different without Ri’Shard Anderson and Keon Lyn, although Lyn missed much of last season. However, Durrell Eskridge returns to lead the SU secondary after a strong finish last season. 

Eskridge will be a key for the Orange. He came on especially strong at the end of last season with 12 tackles and a forced fumble against Pittsburgh. His play needs to carry over to this season as he enters his redshirt junior season. As an older member of team, he will be looked to as a leader, and possibly a captain. After recording 78 tackles and four interceptions last year, look for those number to increase, as Eskridge could play every defensive snap for the Orange this season. 

Wayne Morgan is the next name to watch in the secondary. He played a big role last year after Lyn’s injury. Morgan stepped in at corner after and was solid on the outside. However, his 21 tackles and no passes defended will definitely increase as his playing time increases. Last year, Morgan did not start a game for the Orange, but with both starting cornerbacks, Morgan should see an increase in playing time this fall.

Another name to remember in the secondary is Julian Whigham, who will be coming back from a scary injury in the Florida State game that forced him to miss the remainder of the season. Whigham likely slides into the starting corner role that he had before his injury. If not, he will be battling with both Morgan and Brandon Reddish for playing time on the edges.

Reddish returns as one of the senior members of the SU secondary and again will have a big role. He didn’t always stay in front of his man last year, but when he did, Reddish provided pretty good coverage, defending four passes and tallying 36 tackles. It is important that he makes improvements on last season because the Orange needs him on the field playing consistently against the wide receivers in the ACC. 

Last year, the secondary became a punching bag for the defense’s problems and rightfully so. However, it is also important to remember the effects of the move to the ACC. ACC teams overall are faster, have better passing attacks and are better than the teams SU played in the old Big East.  In the Orange’s second season in the ACC, the team will likely be more prepared for the speed and quality of its conference opponents, and with that, whoever plays in the SU secondary will need to do a better job of staying in front of opposing receivers to limit the big plays.

Posted by: Seth Goldberg

16 Comments on this Post

  1. BK SU FB Fan

    I know every position is important, but the secondary has to slow down passing attacks and atleast one guy will hopefully emerge as a playmaker who is a threat to pick off passes and make decent returns. Morgan has kind of yo yo’d from safety to corner but hopefully he will settle in somewhere.

  2. chris

    Whigham impresses me with his football/field IQ.What he lacks in speed he makes up with positioning. and seems to be able to find the ball in the air well enough to impress coaches and his teammates.

  3. orangeinva

    There is some talent at DB…Eskridge/Whigham/Morgan/ Reddish/ Desir/ Scissum/ and the JUCO safety- his name escapes me.
    More talent is not the way in the ’14 class. I thought our DBs looked lost at times last year….poor technique/blown coverages. I believe this is a make or break year for Fred Reid as DB coach. We should be much better than what we showed last year in the secondary.

  4. orangeinva

    JUCO Safety is Darius Kelly…I like his game.

  5. Cuse17

    Try one of the sciences..good job market!
    I missed the strong finish.. We need more size and espeacially speed in the Defensive backfield.
    Don’t know much about Darius Kelly…
    Seth tell us something and stop the fluff..

  6. Terry

    LOL Davis back out on his verbal and is history!! Don’t be surprised if more do that. Verbal with no visit is fool hardy for a player(OL player)!

    My major concern with the DB’s speed and height. That’s why the Davis loss could really hurt!!


  7. ricke78

    The only way SU can get highly sought after players is to get on them early before they are highly sought after players. We may get some good ones but
    we will probably lose more. Good luck to Davis wherever he goes. He would probably see the field sooner at SU than at the other top schools he is considering.

  8. Well fella’s it looks like the game of “musical chairs” is going to be played a little longer for the Syracuse football team.

    After Devante Davis decommitted from Syracuse on Thursday,Syracuse had another 6’2″ 180 lb N/R CB Andrew Spence out of Coral Gables High School(Florida) commit to Syracuse for the class of 2015.

    The following is what his coach has described him as a player.
    “He’s very physical, has long arms, and good speed,” David Cooney, his position coach, told Rivals in February. “He’s a big time corner prospect that nobody’s heard much about. I think he has the ability to play in the SEC, we just need to get his name out there more.”

    I don’t know if we’re done with Devante Davis as a player yet. I believe Devonte will find out that playing for Syracuse will be his best option when all is said and done. Let’s all hope that Andrew Spence is a kid that backs up his words and stays committed to playing here at Syracuse.

  9. After the Davis decommit our national standings took a small hit.

    scout.com now has us ranked 53rd
    rivals.com now has us ranked 45th
    247sports now has us ranked 39th

    And a(rag),oops I made a mistake “Athlon Sports” magazine has us ranked 61st at this moment in time.

  10. Terry

    NR DB swap for a 3 star DB!! Davis is history. At least in my mind. If he wants SU don’t decommit=that simple. Spence might have a good upside but SU needs players playing now!! The size is there, but RON forgot to say his coach mention speed but not great speed. Which it seems Davis had!!

    It seems HCSS is still hitting ILL, NJ. Conn and Florida for talent. I’ll give him credit he’s blasting away out there. Better than what dougie ever did!!

  11. @Terry;

    I believe that Andrew Spence and Devonte Davis are two “peas from the same pod”,both were/are under the radar players and weren’t noticed by anyone. Devonte didn’t have any stars after his name until after he committed to Syracuse and news outlets started talking about him. Then he get’s reevaluated and bam-o,he gets 3 stars put after his name.

    Let’s wait and see what happens to Andrew Spence. His high school coach believes he can play for any team in the SEC.

    As far as his speed goes Terry,there isn’t a player in college or the NFL that has Jesse Owens type speed that you crave so badly. What is great speed anyways? Is it someone who runs the 40 yd dash so fast that he breaks the sound barrier? Instead of running a 4.4 40 are you saying a kid has great speed if he runs a 4.2 or a 4.1 40 yd dash?

    I think when any coach tells the rest of us that a player has speed,it means to me that the kid is fast.

  12. Terry

    Ron-Davis is the more quality type player at the get-go no issue!! Spence(whom I like his numbers) is not there in Davis class either-as of yet. But most of all, at one time Davis was a CUSE now he’s playing games and doesn’t want the invite. Well neither do I!! BYE Mr. Davis!! Its very important that a player wants to be part of the football program at SYRACUSE U. Not sure of commitment or whatever unsure answer is, is just a cancer on the program. And HCSS agrees with that!! HURRAH!!!

    Ron I’d say his coach might feel that his game speed is not up to par by now. Or other words he’d be on the market and ranked!! Right now he is a NR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Calm down homie!! LOL!!

    Next years NYS class might have a few jems in it!! Better than this years!!

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  16. A New Look for the Orange: Sizing up 2014

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