It’s déjà vu all over again this summer as Syracuse looks for who will step up in the receiving game next season.
Last season, the popular pick was for Jarrod West to become a breakout star but had a disappointing year despite finishing with the 2nd most receiving yards. Consistency is the name of the game for the PA native. It is important to note that 147 out of West’s 397 receiving yards came in the matchup against Wagner. West only averaged 2.6 receptions per contest in the 10 games he played. He will return to the Orange for his senior season.
The two targets that jump out as the most likely to have big years are Ashton Broyld and Brisly Estime. We already talked a few weeks ago about how crucial Broyld will be in the passing game due to his ability to make plays with his athleticism. But Brisly Estime has more of the home run ability with his incredible speed, which can help Hunt develop his deeper throws into the middle of the field. Estime had limited minutes in his freshman season but showed flashes of potential when given an opportunity.
In Syracuse’s 2011 campaign, fans were calling for Ryan Nassib’s head after continued frustration that he only threw bubble screens and short passes to his tight ends. Nassib went into the 2012 season and located Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales as his targets that he could throw to down the field with the most success. Lemon ended up with over 1,000 receiving yards with Sales not too far behind him. Estime has the big play capability that both receivers had despite his smaller frame.
This does not mean that Estime will jump into the game and be a No. 1 receiver. He is still only going to be a sophomore and has other receivers besides Broyld such as Jarrod West, Jeremiah Kobena, Adrian Flemming and Quinta Funderburk competing for minutes. But due to the uncertainty of the position, production on the field could trump seniority. It would not be the first time Shafer has done that as head coach.
The spring game showed just how good Estime can be. He made a 64-yard catch in the middle of the field and showed how his speed can get him to the next level. He finished his 2013 season with 28 catches and over 250 yards in 8 games.
Another pressing matter the Orange needs to figure out before the start of the season is who will be Hunt’s tight end option. Beckett Wales disappeared in his final season, only amassing 10 receptions for 78 yards. Josh Parris and/or Kendall Moore will have to step up to help out Hunt with short catches to move to the chains. Parris had his best game of the year against Boston College, grabbing 7 catches for 47 yards and 2 TDs, including the game-winning score that sent the Orange to the Texas Bowl. Moore on the other hand is a more flexible option who can block and make an occasional catch in the end zone.
Shafer went through the same problem of seeing which receiver will rise to the occasion last year. For Terrel Hunt’s sake, he hopes to find a solution sooner rather than later.
Posted by: Zephan Mayell