The short answer: who the hell knows, but hey projections like this are fun. Dino Babers transformed Amba Etta-Tawo from an average receiver at Maryland to an All American at SU. The precedent is there. Could Pierce make a similar jump?
Tight ends under Dino Babers
In the past, Dino Babers has not utilized tight ends. Last season for Syracuse, the position contributed six catches for 49 yards to the Orange offense. In Babers’ final year at Bowling Green in 2015, tight end Derek Lee caught 18 passes for 108 yards and three scores. That is the most production a tight end has had under a Babers coached team in the last three years. In 2014 at Bowling Green, tight ends made zero catches.
Comparing JUCO to Division I football is apples and oranges, but in Etta-Tawo’s final season at Maryland he caught 20 passes for 216 yards.
Babers was able to turn a player who had potential into an NFL prospect in the case of Etta-Tawo. There is definitely a chance for this to be repeated with Pierce.
As a receiver Pierce is dangerous. At 6’3’’ and 235 pounds he excels at posting up defensive backs and making plays. That size makes him a day one threat for SU. The question now becomes, can Pierce get up to speed with the SU offense before next season? If that answer is yes, then it will be up to Babers to put him in positions to succeed on the field.
As for blocking, the junior college level is much different than the ACC. This will be an adjustment for Pierce.
JUCO players are wildcards. For every Luke Arciniega, there’s a Trey Dunkelberger. If Babers thinks Pierce will make a difference in the passing game, then SU’s coach will design plays for him.
On paper, this is a great fit. A beastly receiving prospect with a point to prove paired with a coach who loves to throw the ball all over the yard.
It’s up to Pierce to work this offseason and show the coaches that he deserves a shot. Right now, he’s only a player with potential.
Posted: Connor Morrissette