There is a lot of turnover on the SU defense this year, which is to be expected when last year’s defense was so experienced. And that means an incredible number of young players starting for this Syracuse squad. While there is some experience up front with John Raymon and currently injured Ron Thompson, the Orange is very inexperienced at linebacker with sophomores Zaire Franklin and Paris Bennett leading the way. And if you think the linebackers are young, the secondary is even younger. Rodney Williams is slated to start at one safety position, he’s a redshirt freshman. At the other safety is a sophomore Antwan Cordy.
The Orange is looking to replace 8 starters on defense from a year ago, and naturally that means looking towards younger players. What the coaching staff is hoping is that they will all be ready to step up and be players for Chuck Bullough’s unit.
We have seen a little bit of what Franklin can do, and as a freshman he looked impressive. He shared the field with upperclassmen Cam Lynch and Dyshawn Davis and looked like he fit in with the others. Moreso, Franklin was sent to the ACC Media Days along with Terrel Hunt and Scott Shafer, and he performed admirably. This was a way of pushing Franklin into a leadership role, a role he says he is ready to take on.
Tuesday night, Franklin told reporters he was excited to be put in a leadership position by the coaches and athletic department staff. This could all be leading to a captain position for the sophomore. Syracuse athletics says captains have not been selected yet, but likely will before the season opener against Rhode Island next weekend.
The Orange have talent, but it is young talent peppered with some upperclassmen. But those upperclassmen come with questions. Defensive linemen Thompson, Raymon, and Luke Arciniega all have their injury concerns. Julian Whigham and Wayne Morgan have experience, but have struggled in their time at the cornerback position.
With just 3 returning starters on the defensive side of the ball, nobody’s job is safe, and everyone can be replaced with someone younger.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg