Two-and-a-half weeks ago, Andre Cisco collided with Ed Hendricks and missed Syracuse’s win over Georgia Tech.
Five days ago, Cisco missed SU’s game against Duke.
Three days ago, Dino Babers confirmed Cisco will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
Two days ago, Cisco took to Twitter to announce he’ll be declaring for the NFL Draft.
Today, fans of the Orange should: first, look back at the dazzling, albeit brief, career Cisco had at Syracuse; and second, affirm their support for their All-American moving forward.
Sure, Cisco has played his last game for SU, but there are multiple reasons why Orange faithful should be cheering him on as if that weren’t the case. First, you have his undeniable contributions.
After arriving on campus as a three-star recruit, the impact Cisco made, right off-the-bat as a true freshman, was truly unprecedented. Behind his nation-leading seven interceptions in 2018, SU notched 10 wins for the first time in what had been 17 years. In 2019, he most certainly proved his freshman campaign was no fluke – picking off five balls to lead the entire ACC, despite missing three games.
Heading into this season, Cisco was the active FBS leader in career interceptions and a preseason All-American. He wasted no time living up to the hype, intercepting UNC’s Sam Howell in SU’s first game of year. That pick gave Cisco an interception in each of the three season openers he’s played in for the Orange. It would also wind up being Cisco’s last for SU.
That brings us to the other reason why Syracuse fans should be pulling for their now-former star safety.
Over the summer, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler pegged Cisco as the No. 2-ranked safety among all draft-eligible players. He was also featured in the top-25 of Bruce Feldman’s 2020 College Football ‘Freaks’ List. Basically, heading into 2020, Cisco seemed like a sure-thing to wind up selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft – and bound for a hefty payday to boot.
After being dealt the blow of a serious injury, rumor has it that Cisco’s torn ACL ‘complicates’ his draft stock. What’s troubling about that is, if Cisco drops to the third or fourth round, he’ll be set to make about half, or even less than half, of what he would’ve received for being a late first or early-to-mid second round pick. Sure, many people might say, “well, he’ll be comfortable either way.” However, that’s far easier to assume than know. Besides, after what Cisco was able to accomplish in his limited time with the Orange, it would almost be selfish for Syracuse fans not to return the favor. This means unwaveringly supporting Cisco on his road to recovery, in the hopes he goes on to achieve what he deserves.
Cisco has 13 interceptions in just 24 career games. He’s also been named to the SU Athletic Director’s Honor Roll four times, and is a two-time ACC Honor Roll selection. Literally, there doesn’t seem to be one single reason that warrants not rooting for the guy. This especially being the case for Syracuse fans, as Cisco – again, after only 24 games – walks away tied for fourth on program’s all-time interceptions list. Just for some added context, of the top five players on that list, three of them played at SU, post 1980 – with Cisco being one of them. Here’s how the Valley Stream, NY native stacks up compared to the other two:
Markus Paul (1985-1988): 19 INT (1st in program history) – 44 games played
Anthony Smith (2002-2005): 14 INT (3rd in program history) – 46 games played
*Andre Cisco (2018-2020): 13 INT (T-4th in program history) – 24 games played*
The other two Syracuse players in the top-five are Tommy Myers (1969-1971) and Walt Slovenski (1946-1948), who’s tied with Cisco for the No. 4 spot.
Nevertheless, the fact that Cisco is right there with Paul and Smith, in roughly half as much time, is truly astounding. We’ll never get to see this, but if Cisco stayed healthy this season and matched his career-high with seven picks, he would’ve tied himself with Paul atop the leaderboard… after just 32 games played.
All in all, rather than thinking about what could have been, the only option for Cisco, and all of Orange nation, is to look forward. It’s a harsh reality for both parties, however, even with Cisco’s Syracuse days in the rearview, SU football fans should still be rooting for him from the passenger seat.