Compared to last year, it’s been a relatively quiet summer of Syracuse sports. Men’s basketball has yet to secure even one commit in the Class of 2023, and SU football hasn’t blown up the headlines with major moves of its own. Perhaps that’s to be expected, but we already know freshmen aren’t going to change the outlook for Dino Babers and company this fall. The team’s destiny and identity fall on the shoulders of those players they return.
One player in particular continues to rope in accolades and excitement: running back Sean Tucker. Tucker is entering Year 3 on The Hill, enters 2022 fresh off a record-breaking campaign last year, and has now attracted enough attention to enter the lofty heights of some prodigious company among the college football landscape.
Earlier today, Tucker was announced as a member of the Maxwell Award Watchlist. The award is given annually to “the nation’s most outstanding college football player”, regardless of position. Tucker is one of 85 candidates on the preseason list, but one of seven players to return after making last year’s semifinal list. The others? Names like Bryce Young (Alabama), C.J. Stroud (Ohio State), and Sam Hartman (Wake Forest).
At minimum, Tucker’s inclusion is a noteworthy accomplishment for a deserving player and a gratifying recognition of Syracuse’s program. For a team that has struggled through the 21st century and lacks the prestige and punch of other ACC programs, having a bonafide star who developed into a player this talented serves as a solid testimony to the team’s developmental skills.
We’ve written at length about how important Tucker is to SU’s success this year. In an offense now run by new coordinator Robert Anae, Tucker’s skillset is a known quantity. He may have to work overtime to break his own record of 100+ yard games (nine, set last year) or his program record 1,496 rushing yards, but anything close may help Syracuse propel itself all the way to a bowl game.