There is no doubt Jarrod West has had a rough season and a half since hauling in 43 passes for 588 yards as the third option behind Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales in 2012. Many expected West to have a break out year last year, especially after Terrel Hunt took over for Drew Allen. That didn’t happen, as West caught just 26 passes last year, and just a single touchdown.
This year however, West has already caught 29 passes for 421 yards. But his play still seemed sporadic until last week, when the senior wide receiver looked as though he played a more consistent game. Maybe that has something to do with his cousin, the new quarterback of the Orange, AJ Long.
West told the Fizz he never thought he would get the chance to play with his younger cousin because of the age gap and the possibility of Long redshirting. However, when Hunt went down, he knew the chances improved.
Last week against Wake, West had one of his better games of the year, catching 5 passes for 41 yards with his cousin was throwing the passes. Maybe it is something the two can build on.
Long said he never thought it was possible he would play with West because the receiver was originally headed to Stanford. But, when West decided to come to SU, Long realized the possibility existed. And the quarterback said, it only got more real after the Orange was one of the first schools to offer him a scholarship. Adding, “It’s pretty awesome” to play with family.
If the Orange are going to have a chance of winning three out of the last five and make a bowl, the Long to West connection needs to be a key part of the offense. Consider that the Orange has been without two of its top receivers in Ashton Broyld and Brisly Estime, and then it helps to realize how important West is to the unit right now.
Even when – or if – Broyld and Estime get back this year, West brings something they do not. He can stretch the field and go deep. It is then up to Long to see him and hit him, but based on what we have seen with Steve Ishmael’s performance so far, Long can throw the deep ball.
After the lackluster year and a half, maybe all West needed was a little family connection on the field to finish his college career strong. After all, West said, with a smile, a good part about AJ being family is that “I can yell at him a little more than anyone else.”
Posted: Seth Goldberg