Football season starts on Saturday, can you believe it? Syracuse takes a trip to Athens, Ohio to take on the Bobcats inside Peden Stadium this Saturday at 7 pm. If you want to know more about Ohio check out the interview I did with Bobcats play-by-play broadcaster, Russ Eisenstein earlier this summer:
Last season, Sean Tucker introduced himself to SU fans in week 3 against Pittsburgh last season, rushing for over 100 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Tucker came out of nowhere after the SU running game looked bleak for two weeks. That begs the question, who will be SU’s break-out star this year? Here are a few potential diamonds in the rough:
Jason Simmons #14 – FS
Simmons was a member of New Mexico state last season. He didn’t play in 2020, as the team canceled its season, but looking back to 2019 will show just how special he can be. In his true freshman season as an Aggie, Simmons tallied 62 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3 pass defenses, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. The Safety entered the transfer portal following last year and ultimately chose Syracuse after receiving offers from 5 other Power 5 schools including the likes of Michigan St. and TCU. When asked about why he came to SU he the young DB pointed at the success the rest of SU’s secondary had last season saying, “Being able to know that I’ll be able to be put in a great opportunity to fulfill my ultimate dream of being able to play in the NFL. That was a huge factor. I’m going to be coached accordingly. Just going to try to come in immediately and make an impact.” The reason Simmons is included on a list of potential surprises is his ranking on the newly released depth chart. Currently ranked as the number two free safety behind true freshman Ben LaBrosse, Simmons is poised to breakout. Look for number 14 to make some big plays in the secondary this season.
Oronde Gadsen #89 – WR
A true freshman this season, Oronde Gadsen should shine at SU. Though with a few names in front of him such as Anthony Queeley, Sharod Johnson, and Courtney Jackson, it may take a few weeks. Gadsden enters the program as a three-star recruit looking to do some damage in an aerial attack that ultimately suffered in 2020. Taj Harris was solid as per usual, but aside from SU’s best, there wasn’t much to write home about. With an even thinner WR room in 2021, guys like Gadsen should get plenty of time to shine.
Marlowe Wax #2 – LB
Marlowe Wax is the only player on this list to have played for Syracuse prior to this year. In 2020 Wax was solid, 32 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 3 sacks, and a fumble recovery for the true freshman. In 2021, with a lot of other developing talent around him such as Mikel Jones and Geoff Cantin-Arku, expect Wax to be special. Him along with those other names will be crucial to defending against the run as we all know SU’s defensive line tends to struggle when defending the run or getting to the QB.
There’s plenty of potential on the roster this season, we’ll find out who are the studs and who are the duds in due time.