Syracuse was dominant in its season opener this past week cruising to a 29-9 win against Ohio. The Orange entered the contest as an underdog (surprisingly) but flexed its ACC muscle on the Bobcats. SU fans have plenty to be optimistic about after the big win and that includes some players whose stocks rose on Saturday. These are the investments you should be buying and selling after week one.
CB Duce Chestnut
The New Jersey native’s stock was already fairly high amongst ‘Cuse Nation coming into the game. The top recruit in SU’s 2021 class backed up his high expectations with his performance against Ohio. Syracuse’s CB2 finished second on the team with 8 tackles, demonstrating his ability to play physically. The Camden product also recorded a half tackle for loss, a pass breakup, and a highlight reel worthy interception. His performance earned him a spot on PFF’s team of the week, earned him PFF true freshman of the week, and 247sports’ true frosh of the week honor.
RB Sean Tucker
Maybe some of Fizz Nation was skeptical of how well Tucker would follow up a promising freshman campaign. Well the Maryland native put those concerns to bed on Saturday with his best performance in a Syracuse uniform. The Doak Walker Award watch list member took 25 carries for 183 yards (7.2 per carry) and a touchdown. This stock just continues to get more bullish by the week.
RB Cooper Lutz
A random poll of Syracuse fans may have suggested that Jarveon Howard and/or Abdul Adams would seize the backup or rational roles in the backfield. Clearly Lutz has cemented himself in this role and is no longer an afterthought in the running back room. The Pennsylvania native made the most of his limited opportunities tallying 25 yards and a touchdown on just five carries.
The Offensive Line
Here’s something you may have never thought you’d ever read: Syracuse conceded ONE sack in a football game. Yeah that’s right, after allowing 3.5 per contest in 2020 (119th out of 127 teams) SU kept its quarterback Tommy DeVito on his feet. There are caveats to this stat like DeVito having improved pocket presence and mobility as well as Tucker breaking off big gains. However, the o-line gets the credit for paving the way for its star tailback and as a fifth-year quarterback you should have some sort of competence in the pocket.
QB Garrett Shrader
The word on the street and from the mouth of head coach Dino Babers was that the Mississippi State transfer would play. Well yeah technically speaking he did, but it was garbage time. DeVito appeared to have played well enough to hold onto that QB1 job for another week, we’ll see what happens against Rutgers. Perhaps Babers is saving Shrader and some of his packages for the home opener against a stingy Scarlet Knights squad? This stock might be down today but we’ll see if it fluctuates this time next week.
WR Courtney Jackson
The Fizz expected Jackson to take Nykeim Johnson’s role as the slot receiver. Well that belief was quickly shot down when the week one depth chart showed that Taj Harris would get that spot. Jackson is still talented and experienced enough to play but he didn’t get many opportunities. The Pennsylvania native didn’t record a single reception but let’s be real, this wasn’t a pass-heavy attack. DeVito threw just 17 times and racked up a whopping 92 yards. This stock could easily shoot up with a big receiving performance in the future.
The Defensive Line
Good luck refuting this claim. The defensive front totaled zero sacks and zero quarterback hurries. Stefon Thompson totaled three hurries but he’s a linebacker. It seemed that Ohio’s signal callers had plenty of time all game to look downfield and connect on passes. This doesn’t bode well for ACC competition when uber-talented slingers can connect with stud wide receivers against a young, inexperienced defense.
Next up for the Syracuse is the Dome opener against Rutgers. Can the Orange compete with a rising Scarlet Knights team? Find out during this week’s game preview on Friday…