Syracuse’s top receiver from last season, Trishton Jackson is off to the NFL after signing with the Los Angeles Rams. Jackson set career highs last season with 66 catches for well over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. After building a rapport with Jackson, who will Tommy DeVito turn to this season?
The obvious answer is Harris who was second on the team with almost 600 receiving yards. He should see an uptick in his junior season. Harris was a clear breakout candidate last season but instead posted similar numbers to his freshman campaign. At 6-foot-2, Harris uses his length well to go along with surprising elusiveness. Simply put, it would be shocking if Harris wasn’t the go-to receiver this coming season. But, there were times that frustration showed for the talented wideout.
Jordan only caught three passes for 20 yards last season, but he’s listed as a starter on Syracuse’s spring depth chart. While he hasn’t seen the field often, this will be Jordan’s fourth year in the program. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, we don’t know when team’s will be able to begin practicing again. That should help the players already listed as starters, especially Jordan who’s already spent so much time in the program.
Over the past few years, the slot position has been very important to Dino Babers’ offense. With Sean Riley off to the NFL, it would be shocking if Johnson, a senior, didn’t hold on to the starting role. Similar to Jordan, Johnson will benefit from so much time in the program. A couple of seasons ago, slot receivers Johnson and Riley combined for over 1,300 yards. But last season, with DeVito at quarterback, the duo managed less than 400 yards combined. Much of Johnson’s production will rely on DeVito looking his way across the middle of the field.
A guy who benefitted from DeVito’s first season as the starter was Hackett. SU’s 6-foot-3, 245 pound tight end is entering his final season of eligibility. Last year were marked by career highs in receiving yards (205) and touchdowns (6). DeVito looked towards Hackett often with the Orange in the red zone. Maybe this coming year, Syracuse will target Hackett more marching down the field rather than in the last 20 yards. He’s a miss-match for defenses and a great weapon in a diverse offense.