It’s always more fun to take a trip to the stock market coming off a big win. Perhaps the market has more customers this week? Well let’s give the people what they want. The intel on who’s rising and who’s falling. If you bought stock in Sean Tucker or Garrett Shrader early on, you’re probably rich by now. So let’s find some more potential lucrative investments.
QB Garrett Shrader
Was his stock down last week? Yes. However, there was a good reason to make that decision. Shrader was a non-factor as a runner against Clemson. Let’s be honest, the former four-star is not the type of quarterback that can move this offense by just throwing the ball. Was the 150+ yard rushing effort against Wake Forest an anomaly? Or was that output something to expect on a weekly basis? Well we now have our answer after Shrader led the team in rushing and crossed the century mark on the ground once again. Saturday marked the third time the signal caller has reached that mark in the last four games.
We have to give Shrader credit though. He passed for 236 yards against Virginia Tech. That marked a career high in his time at Syracuse. That output was also just two yards short of his best passing effort as a Bulldog.
WR/RET Trebor Pena
Syracuse has its next ‘gadget’ player in Pena. The speedster has demonstrated his explosiveness as a kick/punt returner and a wide receiver. Last week we saw Pena score a long touchdown on a big reception in the fourth quarter.
This week the freshman failed to record a catch but he had a 17 yard run and a 51 yard kick return which swayed the momentum in SU’s favor. If Pena can provide a lift in the return game it can help this Syracuse offense astronomically. Great starting field position never hurts.
WR Courtney Jackson
Another week, another new career set of career highs for Jackson. Seven catches for 86 yards for the slot receiver, oh and he also reeled in his first career touchdown against the Hokies. The Pennsylvania native is emerging as Shrader’s ‘security blanket’ and has flashed his ability as a reliable WR1 for this team. This is about as safe of an investment as there is.
WR Damien Alford
Well it’s safe to say Alford has become a household name by this point. Hauling in the game-winning touchdown of a critical game will do that to you. We’ve been telling you to hammer this stock for a while now. It still isn’t too late to make a fortune off of this one because Alford has tons of untapped potential. The 6’6, 215 pound receiver should only continue to boom this season and beyond.
WR Devaughn Cooper
The UTEP and Arizona transfer had his best outing in a Syracuse uniform on Saturday. Cooper caught four passes for 36 yards. This is another player we forecasted to rise. The bulk of pass plays are designed to exploit defenses between the hash marks. This is where Cooper is most comfortable and runs most of his routes. The Los Angeles native should continue to see targets along with Courtney Jackson and he has the athletic talent to break some big plays off.
LG Kalan Ellis
Some of you out there may not have noticed that incumbent starter Chris Bleich has been in and out of the lineup and didn’t even play on Saturday. That’s a testament to how well Ellis has played in relief. The true freshman looks like he belongs on the field and has drawn little to no attention to himself. Ellis was a contributor to an offensive line that paved the way for and protected for 550 yards of total offense against Virginia Tech. Buy stock now, he could be a four-year starter inside.
Rover Rob Hanna
The Fizz has been wondering the whereabouts of Hanna. The freshman ended 2020 as an up-and-comer in this defense. One year later he’s largely been a non-factor. Well the Floridian recorded his first tackle for loss and sack of the season on Saturday. Syracuse could use Hanna in third and long packages as a nickel or someone who can get to the quarterback.
The Syracuse run defense
Nobody has been higher on this defense than the Fizz. There were some signs of a struggle last week against Clemson. The Tigers were simply idiotic not to run the ball more because their offensive line was getting consistent push. Well what Clemson didn’t do, Virginia Tech did and did it in a major way. The Hokies exposed what was supposed to be the ACC’s best run defense with 260 yards. That’s the most the 3-3-5 has allowed all season and it came against a team that had two running backs averaging less than 4 yards per carry entering the matchup.
This is simply unacceptable. Braxton Burmeister, VT’s quarterback, led the team in rush yards entering the contest. He was held in check but Raheem Blackshear and Malachi Thomas were not. Shades of 2020’s defense were on display on Saturday, we’ll see if these problems are taken care of against Boston College. Frankly they need to be because the Eagles have the fourth best back in the ACC in Pat Garwo. He averages over 6 yards per touch and over 86 yards per outing.
K Andre Szmyt
Not much to be said here. Doesn’t matter if you’re kicking indoors, outdoors, in the snow, or even blindfolded, there’s no excuse for missing a 19-yard field goal. Expectations are set at a high level for a former Lou Groza Award winner and asking for consistency inside of 45 yards really isn’t too much to ask. Szmyt has not had that this season.