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How Realistic is the Maxwell Award for Sean Tucker?

Sean Tucker’s early success in his second season is generating plenty of buzz around the Hill. Now, the nation is taking notice.

Tucker was added to the Maxwell Award Watch List for Player of the Year. The last Syracuse player to make the list was Eric Dungey in 2018. The lone Orange winner is Don McPherson in 1987.

The star tailback is finally getting the national attention he deserves. Tucker ranks 15th nationally with eight total touchdowns. Also, he is third in the country with 638 rushing yards. So, now the question is will Tucker win the award.

The short answer is probably not. Precedent sways towards the Heisman winners, and to players on winning teams. The most recent ACC winner was Lamar Jackson from Louisville, who had nine wins in 2016. The biggest variable is the team as a whole. Syracuse is just scrambling to be bowl eligible after a devastating loss in the ACC opener to a winless Florida State team.

What’s interesting about Tucker’s bid for the Maxwell Award is that the Orange are going to have to throw the ball more in ACC play. They did that against Florida State with the Seminoles stacking the box against the run. Tucker still racked up 102 yards on the ground. SU will always be a run-first team, but Tucker’s ability as a receiving back will be paramount in his season going forward because a lot of ACC teams will make sure Tucker has no room between the tackles. Tucker didn’t have a single catch last weekend despite being the team’s leading receiver.

Look, if Tucker doesn’t win the award for player of the year, that’s ok. He’s getting national recognition, and that means the program is too. The Watch List add is going to be a green light for recruits across the country, and if Tucker continues his hot start then Dino Babers’ program will get a much-needed jolt.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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