4 years, 23 players, 23 wins, 1,499 points scored, 9 weeks in the AP Top-25, 1 bowl championship. That is what the 2019 senior class accomplished while donning orange in central New York. There were highs and lows throughout the past four years, but looking back on their careers, this group of seniors can be proud of what they accomplished. This year’s senior class may not have racked up the most wins or went to the most bowl games, but they can say they helped put Syracuse football back on the map. The individuals players that comprised the graduating class each impacted the team in different ways.
Andrew Armstrong wasn’t the most impressive player throughout his career at Syracuse. He played a backup role during his first couple seasons, but this year he earned the starting position. He finished second on the team in tackles, seven of which were tackles for a loss. Armstrong won’t go down as the most dominant linebacker in SU history, but he’ll be remembered for the impactful plays he had, like his interception in the NC State game last year to seal the win for the Orange.
For a player that embodies what Syracuse football is all about, it is fitting that Kendall Coleman played exactly 44 games for the Orange. The Indiana native was one of the top pass rushers in the ACC and played a vital role as a four-year starter on the SU defensive line. His impact on this team was unmatched. Coleman was a vocal leader on and off the field and did it in a way that no one else could do. The only thing that outmatched his pure strength was his pure smarts. Coleman was the smartest player on the field, no matter who lined up across from him. His hard work, maturity and great attitude led him to be a fan-favorite. Coleman will be missed next year, but Syracuse fans might be watching him on Sundays.
Sterling Hofrichter is not only one of the best punters in the country at the moment, but he is also one of the best in Syracuse history. The redshirt senior had a tough task following NFL draftee Riley Dixon in 2016, but Hofrichter filled his shoes perfectly. He has all of the accolades– All-ACC, Ray Guy Award Candidate, Freshman All-American. Hofrichter’s impact wasn’t seen on a play-by-play basis, but when he was called on he answered and helped the Orange in countless situations.
There have been a lot of great running backs that have put on the orange and blue in the past. Names such as Floyd Little, Ernie Davis and Jim Brown come to your mind when you think about the best of the best. Now, Moe Neal might not be the flashiest or have the most accolades, but he has been a consistent presence in the backfield over his career at SU and is in the record books because of it. Neal finished ninth on Syracuse’s all-time rushing list. He played in all 49 games over the past four years, not missing one of them. Neal played a vital role on the team, and his absence in the backfield next year will be an issue for Syracuse.
What Sean Riley lacked in height, he made up for in speed and heart. The 5’8” jitterbug is the most successful returners in Syracuse history. Plus, his speed in the slot was a mismatch for any opposing defense. Although he didn’t have his best season this year, Riley played a vital role for the Orange in the past and leaves a big gap in the returner position.
It was fun watching Alton Robinson on Saturdays, but now SU fans should get used to seeing him on Sundays. The Texas native transferred to Syracuse after his freshman year and has been tearing apart opposing defenses ever since. He is not only the best pass rusher in the ACC, but one of the best in the entire country. Robinson is projected to be an early-round pick in this upcoming NFL draft.
The other seniors include Otto Zaccardo, Lakiem Williams, Clayton Welch, Kyle Strickland, KJ Ruff, Jake Pickard, Carl Jones, DuWayne Johnson, Ben Honis, Shaq Grosvenor, Christopher Fredrick, Evan Foster, Andrejas Duerig, Antwan Cordy, Scoop Bradshaw, Brandon Berry and Evan Adams.