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Breakout Players for 2022: Offense

Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

We are within 100 days of the start of the college football season! Syracuse gets started with a matchup against Louisville which was recently declared to be a primetime game. As the anticipation and excitement continue to build let’s look ahead and lay out what could happen this fall. We begin with some brainstorming about the players that could breakout for the Orange in 2022. Let’s begin with the offense.

Garrett Shrader, QB

The former four-star recruit hasn’t exactly met expectations yet. The dual-threat quarterback had a solid freshman season at MSU before getting moved to wideout and transferring. Shrader was solid last season and certainly proved to be one of the best running quarterbacks in the ACC.

However, as a signal caller you also need to be able to throw the ball with efficiency and consistency. The second-year Orangeman did neither of those two last seasons. Can Robert Anae and Jason Beck turn things around in their first year on staff? If they do then expect Shrader to emerge as a true dual-threat and thus enjoy a breakout season.

Oronde Gadsden, WR

This is a bit of a gamble. In the spring game this new offense that Anae has installed showed that it loves to use four receiver sets and spread the field. This philosophy should allow for more quick passing and opportunities for athletes to get in space. Gadsden is one of those players.

Back in March the Florida product lined up in the slot and on the outside. Additionally, the rising second-year player finished last season on a high note with a few nice plays against Pittsburgh.

Damien Alford, WR

Syracuse needs a potent threat in the boundary. Last season, the only passing success SU had was between the hashes with Courtney Jackson. One of the several tall, lanky receivers ‘Cuse has on its roster needs to fill the void left by Taj Harris and stretch the field vertically.

Alford is the best athlete in the wideout room and perhaps on the entire team. The Canadian is 6’5, 210+ pounds and runs like a gazelle. The former three-star needs more balls thrown his way.  

Umari Hatcher, WR

Sticking with pass catchers, Hatcher is another impressive athlete. The former blue-chip recruit flashed his abilities in the spring game with some deep connections from Justin Lamson. ,

Can the rising second-year player put it all together and continue his development towards becoming a complete receiver? If so, then Hatcher could make some noise this fall.

Trebor Peña, WR/KR

The utility player is an interesting case. Peña missed most of the 2021 campaign with an arm injury which required one of the largest casts I have ever seen. The experienced offensive player is just such a gadget that can hurt defenses from anywhere and SU really doesn’t have another athlete like him.

‘Cuse fans saw Peña catch a long touchdown pass against Clemson and even return a kick for a score in the past. If Anae can get creative with his deployment of the New Jersey native, then Syracuse could create a lot of problems for opposing defenses.

Chris Bleich, OG

This seems like the only other option. Sean Tucker is the entire running back room, each of the other offensive linemen have either already broken out or don’t figure to too this year unless Carlos Vettorello flips a switch out of nowhere.

The Florida transfer earned a starting gig at guard coming out of camp and played in eight games. However, Bleich has yet to see a full season of unhindered action at the collegiate level. If the Pennsylvania native can stay healthy he could be a mauler in the trenches and perhaps turn in an All-ACC caliber season.

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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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