The most underappreciated position in all of football and perhaps all of sports is the offensive line. If a team can’t protect its quarterback, it will fall faster than the London Bridge. Syracuse was in the middle of the ACC in that category last year, tying for the sixth-most sacks allowed in the conference. As recruiting for the Class of ’23 starts to gain steam, Dino Babers and company welcomed 3-star offensive tackle Naquil Betrand to the 315 last week. Needless to say, he’d be a massive add.
Let’s start by thinking about this from the quarterback’s point of view. Potential future quarterbacks including Carlos Del-Rio Wilson, LaNorris Sellers, and Dan Villari aren’t going to be too thrilled if the Orange don’t invest in a solid offensive line to protect them. And in this day and age where activity in the transfer portal is bigger than ever, a snap of a finger and any or all of them could be out the door. Bringing in a lineman like Betrand would help recruit the most important position in all of football and arguably all of sports.
The competition for Betrand is very stiff. Syracuse is going to have to compete with some of the big boys to win over the Philadelphia-native. Auburn, Penn State, Texas A&M, and reigning national champion Georgia are among those in the hunt for Betrand. Wouldn’t it be something if SU can lure him over those powerhouses? It should make Central New York a higher-profile destination for top recruits in the long run, and no one can complain about that.
Betrand will instantly improve the offensive line. Yes, that is stating the obvious. But at this time next year the landscape of Syracuse’s line will look entirely different. Veterans Darius Tisdale and Dakota Davis are rising redshirt seniors and will in all likelihood be gone after this season. Matthew Bergeron will still have one year of eligibility left, but this will be his fourth season and it isn’t uncommon for players taking the extra COVID year to transfer. Look to Jimmy Boeheim on the basketball court as an example. While Babers would love to have Bergeron back in 2023, he has to prepare for the possibility that he won’t be back, and that’s where Betrand comes in. Even if Bergeron returns, Betrand can find playing-time instantly and be a difference-maker.
Clearly Betrand will bring a lot to the table in several different aspects. He’ll make quarterbacks happy, he’ll increase SU’s recruiting presence, and he’ll improve the offensive-line. What isn’t to like about him?