Don’t be fooled by the caveat. Even if Sean Tucker and Cody Roscoe are mid-season All-Americans, that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Only Alabama has more mid-season All-Americans (3) than Syracuse. Iowa and Georgia are the other two programs with multiple nods. While there is cause for celebration, it’ll be tough to convince Tucker of that.
“It’s just mid-season,” he said. So, now it’s up to Tucker and Roscoe to take their strong starts to the finish line.
Tucker is second nationally with 948 rushing yards. The second year freshman ran for over 100 yards in six of the seven games this year. That includes five straight games above the century mark, which ties a program record. On his pace, he is about a quarter or two away from surpassing 1,000 yards on the ground, and is on track to shatter Joe Morris‘ single-season rushing record with 1,372 yards.
The rushing numbers speak for themselves. What will sustain Tucker’s All-American campaign is actually separate from the ground game though. Tucker is the Orange’s leading receiver. It helps that Taj Harris transferred out of the program, but Tucker out gained him in the air in the first three games of the year. That’s what puts him second in the country in all-purpose yards per contest, and in the hunt for All-America honors. If that part of his game dries up, and Garrett Shrader starts throwing outside the hashes more, then Tucker will have a tough time sustaining his production. Then again, it seems unlikely that the Orange will go away from the Tucker-focussed system. Dino Babers attributed the pivot the offense took from a DeVito-led pass heavy play-book to a run-raid group to Tucker’s surprise emergence.
Roscoe leads all Power-5 players with 7.5 sacks. His 10.5 tackles for loss ranks fifth in the country. Roscoe’s numbers are superb as well, but his might be tougher to sustain. A lot of his success has been timely this year. The McNeese State transfer forced a fumble on projected first round QB Malik Willis to cue the game winning drive over Liberty. That might be tough to keep up as offensive lines take notice.
The senior is already seeing double teams though. Fellow defensive end Josh Black says he can count on Roscoe to draw an extra blocker. Eventually, however, ACC teams might do even more to contain him. Tucker has the receiving yards to fall back on if defenses stack the box. Roscoe might not have an out like that if the double-teams get more intense and more common.
Then there’s Duce Chestnut, who made the freshman midseason All-America list. There was a point in the season when it looked pretty bleak for Chestnut. Some ACC teams made him look like a freshman, and even UAlbany burned him downfield once. But the growing pains seem to be over ever since the interception against Florida State. Expect Chestnut to stay in the All-American favor until the end of the year.