This week‚Äôs NFL Draft is a reminder of the talent that is departing Syracuse and on its way to the next level. But it also gives us a chance to look ahead to what could be for the Orange in 2019. With open voids, there figures to be a few unknowns that break into the spotlight for SU next season. We know Syracuse‚Äôs offense has a couple of major openings, but some secondary guys could be the ones that emerge to really strengthen the Orange‚Äôs 2019 season.
Ed Hendrix – Redshirt Freshman, WR
There‚Äôs someone every year. Last year we saw a trio of receivers step up in the form of Jamal Custis, Taj Harris and Nykeim Johnson. While the latter two will be back next season, Custis is a graduated NFL Draft prospect. Like Custis, Hendrix is an exceptional blend of size and speed. He‚Äôs 6-foot-3 with a 4.4 40-yard dash time. So why have you maybe not heard of him before? He had a season-ending lower body injury during the regular season and was shut down for nearly all of spring practice with a lower leg injury. Hendrix is the most Custis-like wideout on the roster now, and could have the most Custis-like year in 2019.
Anthony Queeley – Redshirt Freshman, WR
Another receiver belongs on this list because frankly, this is the most breakout-prone position on the roster. Thanks to Dino Babers‚Äô offense, there is room for multiple emergences. We saw it last season with Nykeim Johnson and Taj Harris. Along with Hendrix, Queeley could be another star in the making for this offense. He stole the show with this highlight reel grab during the spring game:
— Jakob Fox (@JakobLFox) April 13, 2019
The only thing in the way of either of these guys emerging is the sheer depth this team has. SU returns three of its four leading receivers from last year and also welcomes four star Michigan State transfer Trishton Jackson into a full-time role. But if there‚Äôs enough passes to go around, chances are we see either Queeley or Hendrix put up some solid numbers.
Lakiem Williams – Senior, LB
Linebackers have been a strong unit the past couple of seasons, even if they weren‚Äôt necessarily expected to be. With Kielan Whitner graduated, Syracuse has to dig for its next starting middle linebacker. Williams is slated to be the starter for 2019 after not seeing a lot of action last season. He is a junior college transfer, which is a recipe that worked well for the Orange last season with Ryan Guthrie. Guthrie spent most of his first season watching before finally getting to prove himself on the field. It all ended with him being an All-ACC second team linebacker. If Williams develops similarly, he could follow in Guthrie‚Äôs footsteps.