June is a big month for Syracuse football and men’s basketball recruiting alike. New recruits don’t necessarily change the compass readings for certain teams, but getting rosters closer to finalized means that predictions and previews can start coming out full force. SU football is certainly in that camp without any major Top 100 recruits, but the outlook on its season is beginning to take shape.
No matter what record you think the Orange will finish with, it’s undeniable that the team sports some pretty impressive talent at a select few positions. You could make the argument that Syracuse has better players at certain spots than any other team in the Atlantic Coast, and there’s at least one publication that now agrees with you: Athlon Sports.
Athlon’s Preseason All-ACC team predictions dropped a few days ago, and there’s plenty of Orange to go around. In fact, there’s eight different Clemson Tigers that grace First Team offensive, defensive, and special teams units. Oodles of orange indeed.
Jokes aside, Syracuse is also well-represented on the list. The Orange sport two representatives on the First Team. Running back Sean Tucker is anyone’s easy candidate, and he joins Clemson’s Will Shipley as the list’s two backfield picks. On the defensive side, linebacker Mikel Jones is the lone SU rep, alongside fellow linebackers Trenton Simpson (Clemson) and the NC State pair of Payton Wilson and Drake Thomas.
Heading on down, tackle Matthew Bergeron is one of four linemen on the Second Team offensive unit. Cornerback Duce Chestnut is the lone Orange player on the Second Team defensive side, following an impressive true freshman season. Trebor Pena rounds out the Second Team group as a kick returner.
Rounding out the lists are linebacker Stefon Thompson (Third Team defense), cornerback Garrett Williams (Fourth Team defense), and kicker Andre Szmyt (Fourth Team special teams).
Athlon’s list only affirms that SU has plenty of starting talent to go around. In essence, the list names eight different ‘Cuse players who are at least top 4 in-conference at their positions. We’ve been more optimistic than some other publications about SU’s chances in 2022, and it appears we can now use Athlon Sports’ insight as supporting evidence. As we head into Summer and inch closer to Fall, it’s apparent that it’s on Dino Babers more than ever to utilize what talent he has to get Syracuse back to a rare bowl game.