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Syracuse Football’s Losses and Gains Begin

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It was a forgone conclusion that a bevy of transfer portal news would spring after Robert Anae and Tony White left Syracuse last week. Well, a domino on both sides just fell. SU landed Nebraska transfer Jaeden Gould earlier today, adding its third transfer to next year’s squad. The timing was just right on the defensive back, who still has four years of eligibility. Just hours later, former freshman All-American Duce Chestnut announced his decision to enter the transfer portal after two years with the program.

For those this as a player for player trade scenario, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Gould originally committed to USC before flipping his allegiance to Nebraska as a 6’2, 200-pound two star. Chestnut showed up in Central New York as a four-star and a top 25 cornerback in his class. Both are New Jersey natives but the former SU star corner is by far the more experienced player.

From day one, Chestnut received the nod and shined against opposing star wideouts. The 6’0″ defensive back earned third team All-ACC honors and was named an All-American by three different outlets. Chestnut recorded the second-most passes defended in the conference while simultaneously leading the Orange with three interceptions. But his most impressive feat surrounded the fact that the now-sophomore became just the third ‘Cuse true freshman defensive back and first cornerback in the last 40 years to earn a week 1 starting job out of camp, joining Andre Cisco (2018) and Markus Paul (1985), who were both selected in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft.

On the flip side, Gould redshirted this past season and only has a 2021 Max Preps New Jersey High School Player of the Year award to show for his safety and cornerback play. Not to discount this accolade, but the college game is vastly different than the competition Gould faced in the northeast at the high school level. That’s even more evident when considering that five of the top 35 wide receivers in the nation in receiving yards per game played in the ACC. In simpler terms, the former Nebraska Cornhusker isn’t proven at the collegiate level and is joining a, more likely than not, belittled crew that he’ll have to star in.

Losing White’s services as the defensive coordinator is one blow, but failing to keep a top corner is another. Although Chestnut wildly underperformed this year compared to last season, not a lot trumps experience. The one main positive from this swap is that Gould still has four years of eligibility remaining in comparison to Chestnut competing for one more season before the NFL draft. But now it’s time for Babers to find the right piece to lead the defense and prove that he’s a good developmental coach. Don’t expect this to be the final transfer portal domino on either side, but what stays the same is the importance of who Babers recruits, whether it is a solid collegiate figure or a work in progress. That is the ultimate determinant to Syracuse’s success next 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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