With just under two weeks to go until Syracuse football’s opener on September 4th, the Fizz is counting down the team’s top 10 most important players. You can read our last entry on the list here.
In the meantime, our countdown marches on with No. 7 on the list in wide receiver Anthony Queeley, who established himself last season as SU’s number two option at wideout.
After being redshirted in 2018 and spending 2019 on special teams, Queeley emerged in 2020 as a consistent possession receiver for the Orange. The Orlando, FL native caught 37 passes for 378 yards and two scores, joining Taj Harris as the only Syracuse players to catch more than 20 passes and earning the confidence of head coach Dino Babers.
Why Syracuse Needs Him
Queeley’s ideal responsibility this season is to help solidify a position group that has suddenly become thin on depth. Former wideouts Nykeim Johnson (transfer to Kent State) and Ed Hendrix are both no longer with the program, meaning that SU’s third and fourth receiver spots are up for grabs. Inexperience now dominates the rest of ‘Cuse’s receiver room, with Courtney Jackson, Damien Alford, and other newcomers like Oronde Gadsden II now jostling for a spot on the offense.
Best Case Scenario
The best-case scenario for Queeley would be to see success in a role that better utilizes his skillset. Last year, Syracuse had a difficult time getting the ball to its receivers, mainly due to porous offensive line play and a rash of injuries at the quarterback position. Fellow wideout Taj Harris led Syracuse in catches, yards, and scores, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him transition from playing outside to more of a consistent role in the slot to utilize his run-after-catch ability. That would mean more outside, downfield targets for Queeley, who would be the de-facto deep threat in the offense. With first-year starter jitters out of the way and a more fitting role in the team’s scheme, the ingredients are there for Queeley to take the next step.
Worst Case Scenario
I’m tempted to say that a regression in production would be the worst thing for Queeley, but that would likely be caused by factors outside of his control. Instead, like other positions with depth as thin as Syracuse’s receivers, the worst thing to happen to Queeley would be for him to get injured for a lengthy period of time. Without him, defenses would key on Taj Harris and make things a lot more difficult for Sterlin Gilbert and the Syracuse O. As good as RB Sean Tucker is, we saw last year that Syracuse can’t win when they’re one-dimensional on offense.
Make sure to check back on Tuesday for No. 6 on our top 10 most important players list.
Monday, August 16 – #10 Garrett Shrader
Wednesday, August 18 – #9 Matthew Bergeron
Friday, August 20 – #8 Josh Black
Sunday, August 22 – #7 Anthony Queeley
Tuesday, August 24 – #6 ?
Thursday, August 26 – #5 ?
Saturday, August 28 – #4 ?
Monday, August 30 – #3 ?
Wednesday, September 1 – #2 ?
Friday, September 3 – #1 ?