We are flying through the SU Top 100 list and breaking it all down with our FizzCasts. A lot of talented athletes have already been named on this ranking and here is another one– coming in at No. 39 is Justin Pugh.
Pugh is one of, if not the best, offensive linemen in Syracuse Football history. The Pennsylvania-native played offensive tackle for the Orange from 2009 to 2012. Pugh didn’t play at all his freshman year, but he earned the starting position his sophomore season and never looked back. He went on to start every game he played in for the next three years and only missed four due to an upper body injury.
In those three seasons, Pugh racked up the accolades. In 2010, he was named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team. In 2011, Pugh earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors. Then in 2012, he was All-BIG EAST First Team and an ECAC Division All-Star.
It is difficult to look back on offensive linemen and grade them because they don’t have any stats, but the guys Pugh blocked for sure did. Delone Carter rushed for over 1,000 yards behind Pugh. So did Antwon Bailey the next year. So did Jerome Smith the following season. In all three years that Pugh started, there was a 1,000 yard rusher. Plus, during Pugh’s senior campaign, the Orange only allowed 16 sacks in 13 games, which was 24th best in the entire FBS. If that doesn’t tell you how good he was, I don’t know what will. Maybe these highlights will help.
Pugh went on to be drafted in the first round (19th overall) by the New York Giants in the 2013 NFL Draft. He played for the Giants for five seasons and then signed a five-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, where he currently is today.
Sure, Pugh doesn’t have all the fancy stats and crazy highlight plays that some of the other athletes on our SU Top 100 list have, but he was absolutely a menace on the field and completely deserves his ranking of No. 39.