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Re-Visiting our Most Important Players List

We’re about halfway through Syracuse Football’s 2022 season. SU has shocked pretty much everybody with an impressive 5-0 start. Although the road may have been rocky with come from behind wins against Purdue and Virginia, the record is what it is!

The team as a whole is experiencing a lot of success and a big proponent to that is individuals stepping up big for the ‘Cuse. So let’s review our top ten players list and do a mid-season check in.

10. Courtney Jackson

Jackson is one of the players we highlighted earlier this week as someone who has to step up. The wideout led Syracuse in receiving last year and many thought would be WR1 this season. Instead its been Oronde Gadsden II who wasn’t even ranked in our top ten.

Jackson has one dozen catches, for 168 yards, and a touchdown this season. The Pennsylvania native has work to do if he wants to match or make better on his 2021 numbers. Last season, the fourth-year pass catcher totaled 37 catches for 389 yards and three scores. To be in the top ten, SU needs more from its experienced playmaker.

9. Marlowe Wax

The converted linebacker might be deserving of top five recognition at the very least. Wax has built on a strong sophomore season and is emerging as a potential All-ACC player come seasons end. The Maryland native is third on the team in tackles with 28 and leads the defense with 5.5 tackles for loss. With Stefon Thompson and now Derek McDonald down with injury, Wax has had to step it up and he certainly has.

8. Chris Elmore

If Elmore were healthy he would certainly remain on this list with how he affects the run game and improves this offense. His talents were on full display in the opener against Louisville, he even caught a pass! Unfortunately, we haven’t seen Rhino since early September.

7. Duce Chestnut

It’s been a quiet season so far for the cornerback. The New Jersey native reeled in his first interception against Wagner last weekend. It seems like many teams aren’t really testing the 2021 freshman All-American. Still, Chestnut is third amongst defensive backs with 15 tackles and has done all he can to make an impact. With a tough slate coming up for the ‘Cuse, Duce figures to get more opportunities to get on highlight reels.

6. Matthew Bergeron

It’s hard to quantify how an individual on an offensive line is doing. Bergeron earned All-ACC recognition coming into this season and many project him to be playing on Sunday’s. Syracuse has had issues moving the ball on the ground at times and it ranks 114th in FBS allowing over three sacks per game.

You can’t really pin this on the left tackle though, the front five has to work in conjunction to be successful at all times. Bergeron earned ACC offensive lineman of the week back in week two so he has to get the nod near the top five still.

5. Damien Alford

This pick was puzzling and is really an outlier to this list. Alford has certainly not made a top five worthy impact for this offense. The Canadien has shown flashes but that’s it. The rangy pass catcher has only snared four passes for 82 yards and a score. Over half of that yardage came on one passing play against UConn.

We keep waiting and waiting for Alford to break out and use his physical attributes to show on the football field and it’s still not happening. Syracuse could really benefit from the third-year wideout from elevating his game. With Isaiah Jones out with injury, the Orange need a home-run hitter and big downfield play threat.

4. Garrett Williams

Some could argue that G-Will deserves top three recognition, if not the top spot. The cornerback is second on the team with 30 tackles (yeah as a corner) and also leads the Orange with a pair of picks and a trio of breakups. Last season, the fourth-year defensive back only had one pick and he’s already surpassed that number and has emerged as a force in the boundary. Williams has been critical to Syracuse’s defense as a cover corner and a tackler on the outside.

3. Mikel Jones

This is an NFL player on Syracuse’s roster. Honestly, Jones could be tied for the top spot with out next two picks. The linebacker has been the ring leader of “The Mob” and is producing at a high level. The All-ACC defender leads the Orange with 35 tackles and is the emotional and vocal instigator. Irreplaceable is the only way to describe number three in navy and orange.

2. Garrett Shrader

Some of you may have done a double take when you saw this name at two coming into the year. However, we should all be able to agree that the dual-threat quarterback belongs here. Shrader is a completely different player and has transformed the Syracuse offense. The Mississippi State transfer has improved his completion percentage from 53% to 71% and has more touchdown passes this season (10) than he had all of last year (9). Shrader has everything to do with SU’s early season success and has been critical for this team.

1. Sean Tucker

Some would say Tucker has underwhelmed to this point. Even if you identify with that take though you can’t deny the fact that the running back is once again at the top of the ACC in rushing yards. The All-American tailback has racked up about 550 yards on five yards per carry this season.

However, the Maryland native bolstered his output big time with a career performance against Wagner last week. Tucker is critical to this teams success but the ground attack has left a lot to be desired against actually good football teams. For example, number thirty-four was held under three yards per touch against Purdue and Virginia. We need to see more consistent success from Tucker and the offensive line moving forward for him to be considered number one on this list.

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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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