The media released its preseason All-ACC team today featuring zero Syracuse players. Only seven Orange players received votes, while Clemson had a leading 10 players on the team. Linebacker Zaire Franklin was the only SU player with double digit votes at a tally of 13. However, these selections are only a forecast of this year’s campaign. Last years team only featured 14 of the 26 preseason picks. Many variables can influence how the all-conference team pans out such as injuries and underperformance. With new head coach Dino Babers at the helm, some players could explode onto the national scene and put up eye-popping numbers. One potential booster for the Orange’s offensive numbers is if the team is trailing throughout games, Eric Dungey will be forced to throw. This can inflate his numbers as well as those of the receiving corps. With that being said, here are some guys who could crack one of the three All-ACC teams.
The sophomore quarterback is expected to take a huge leap going into next season. Although it is unlikely he dethrones Clemson’s Deshaun Watson for the quarterback spot on the first team, if Dungey progresses under Babers, he could see his numbers drastically spike. Last season at Bowling Green, Babers coached quarterback Matt Johnson to the MAC Offensive Player of the Year along with the All-MAC first team. Johnson finished second in the NCAA in both passing yards (4,946) and touchdowns (46). Don’t expect Dungey to replicate those numbers right away, but if anyone can propel the Oregon native in that direction, it’s Babers.
Estime picked up six votes in the preseason poll as a specialist. He also earned 12 votes in last year’s All-ACC voting. The return man was the reason why Syracuse finished ninth in the nation in average punt return yardage and had the fourth most punt return touchdowns. If Estime can break a couple extra big runs this season, he could find himself a spot.
Syracuse’s top receiver should see his numbers go up under Babers’ new system. The coach’s best receiver at Bowling Green, Roger Lewis, racked up 1,544 yards and 16 touchdowns, good for second and third respectively in college football. Lewis earned All-MAC first team in both of his seasons with Babers. If Ishmael and Dungey take synchronous steps, expect them to receive some kind of honors come December.