This is part two of a three-part power ranking. If you haven’t read part one yet, click here.
The top three position groups are safe bets to perform at a high level. These next two have loads of potential, but a higher risk of busting.
4. Wide Receivers
The wideouts are often fill-in-the-blank strong for Dino Babers-led teams. Depth defines this position this season. Who will step up? Taj Harris is a strong breakout candidate with his length and route-running. He needs to improve his hands. Trishton Jackson will likely be the other starter on the outside. So far so good for Jackson, who found the end zone twice in his lone game last season. SU knows what it’s getting out of it’s starting slot receivers Nykeim Johnson and Sean Riley— both stretch the field with their speed and both are dangerous once they have the ball tucked. The WR position also has some sleepers. Ed Hendrix was looking like the next big thing when he arrived at Spring Ball in 2018. Then he injured his knee and had to take a redshirt season. Sharod Johnson is a reliable depth piece. And Anthony Queeley and Courtney Jackson were standouts at this year’s Spring Football Scrimmage.
Enter the highest rated quarterback recruit since Donavan McNabb. It’s Tommy DeVito’s time to take over the reigns as Syracuse’s starting quarterback. The bad news is that first-year quarterbacks are almost always mistake-prone. The good news is that DeVito has spent three years in the program already, entering his redshirt junior season. He should have Dino Babers’ tempo offense down by now. Plus, the four-star saw some some live game action last year. Against North Carolina, DeVito gunslinged his way to a comeback victory, throwing for three touchdowns and one interception in 19 attempts. He also played the majority of the Notre Dame game, and looked overmatched against the eventual College Football Playoff participants: zero touchdowns, two interceptions. But that experience should pay dividends this season. Why so low in the power rankings? DeVito has shown he can move the ball up the field with explosive deep ball accuracy and arm strength, but he hasn’t shown he can manage a game. There’s plenty of reason for optimism when it comes to DeVito’s talents, but he’s still a question mark. Clayton Welch or Rex Culpepper will serve as backup. Either option is serviceable but neither option could save SU from a disappointing season if DeVito went down long-term.
Make sure to check back in at orangefizz.net next Friday for the final installment of this power ranking!