Syracuse just received its 15th commitment in the class of 2022, getting a pledge from Maryland native and “4.5 star” long snapper Ethan Stangle. There is no doubt Stangle’s commitment was purely the work of new SU special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky.
Yes, this is a long snapper. But this is one of a few recent happenings which should build confidence in Syracuse’s special teams unit, which was absolutely terrible last season. While head coach Dino Babers tried to downplay the struggles, there were multiple occasions, such as penalties, ridiculous missed kicks and a “special punt” which clearly showed SU’s special teams lacked direction and leadership in 2020 after being a standout group in years past. However, the players that make up the squadron are coming back, which means recently hired special teams coach and former Super Bowl champ Ligashesky seems to have a clear vision for the Orange’s “third phase.”
Five days after the hiring was announced, 2018 Lou Groza award winner Andre Szmyt let Orange nation know he was coming back for his final year of eligibility. His snapper Aaron Bolinsky followed suit. Not only is Ligashesky looking at high schoolers to come in and carry on SU’s tradition of high-level special teams play, but he’s convinced the upperclassmen to come back and help the Orange make a push to a bowl game in 2021. Keep in mind Trebor Pena was a constant kick return threat until his arm injury this year, and Courtney Jackson was an ACC Special Teams Player of the Week after a punt return touchdown against Boston College. So while yes, a class of 2022 long snapper isn’t anything to celebrate, there should be renewed optimism that Ligasheshky is steering Syracuse towards special teams success.