On more than one occassion, Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers has called his wide receivers his “babies”. So, it should not come as a big surprise that the wide-out position is one of Syracuse’s strongest and deepest. The Orange may have lost Amba Eta-Tawo, who set all sorts of school records in his one year on the Hill, but if the Orange struggle this season, it will not be due to a weakness at the Wide Reciever position.
Syracuse is bringing back two key players for their season season; Erv Phillips and Steve Ishmael. Phillps reeled in 90 catches last season for just under 900 yards and ended the season with six touchdown grabs. Ishmael had a small dip in form from his sophomore to junior seasons. Ishamel caught nine more passes last season than his 39 during his junior year, but his 559 yards was a slgiht decline and his touchdown total plummeted from seven to one. The Orange relied on Phillips and Ishamel last season but will likely lean on the pair even more during their senior season as Dungey lost his favorite target in Eta-Tawo.
New Faces Expected to Have an Immediate Impact
Syracuse added four wide receivers on National Signing Day and two of them, at least, are expected to be involved right away. Freshmen Cameron Jordan and Russell Thompson-Bishop are hoping to be a major part of Dino’s offense in their first season out of high school. Both Jordan and Thompson-Bishop were rated three stars coming out of high school but Jordan was the second-ranked receiver in the football hotbed that is New York State. Both also already have the size necessary to compete at the next level. Thompson-Bishop was listed at 6-2 and 200 pouds coming out of high school and Jordan is 6-3 and around the same weight. They, of course, have both had the summer to get in the perfect condition to play in Babers’ fast-paced offense. They will also be joined by NyKeim Johnson and Sharon Johnson as receivers in the class of 2017.
Other Notable Wide Receivers
It should also be noted that Syracuse will bring Devin Butler (the sophomore wide-out, not the Notre Dame transfer Cornerback) back into the fold. Butler played the first six games of the season as a true freshman before missing out on the second half of the season due to a concussion. Butler played mainly on special teams during his freshman year, really only playing receiver as a reserve. Butler made two catches during his first real chance to play wide out against Notre Dame. He then didn’t play for the rest of the season. The Orange will also return redshirt Junior Jamal Custis and sophomore and return specialist Sean Riley.