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Why is SU’s Defensive Backfield Undergoing So Much Turnover?

AP/Adrian Kraus

There’s been a lot of change in the Syracuse defense over the back couple of days. Specifically, with the Orange’s DBs. This is the unit former SU defensive coordinator Tony White led in his first two years at the helm before moving to linebackers this year. Chip West (Corners) and Nick Monroe (Safeties, Defensive Passing Game Coordinator) are still on staff. Monroe was bumped up to interim DC, and if Dino Babers can’t find a reliable resource to take the full-time gig next year, ace recruiter and noted vibes guy Monroe would be an ideal candidate to take that next step.

The coaching changes are something we at the Fizz predicted would happen because of White’s age, his mastery of the 3-3-5 and ability to turn a middling defense into a great one. but the ‘Cuse have now lost three of its starters from the 2022 season. First, Duce Chestnut entered the transfer portal Tuesday. [At the same time, the Orange picked up Jaedan Gould, a four-star transfer from Bergen Catholic high school in New Jersey (the same school as Tommy DeVito) who spent a year at Nebraska.]

Today, Syracuse lost two more DBs: Garrett Williams and Ja’Had Carter. Williams is headed to the next level.

This ends a great Orange career for the North Carolinian. Williams led the ACC in pass breakups for two years, picked off Trevor Lawrence in 2020 and had two big interceptions this season before tearing his ACL against Notre Dame. The redshirt sophomore went through the draft process last year, returned to school, saying he wanted to force more turnovers this season, and did just that. He should continue the SU DB lineage in the NFL.

Carter’s choice is much more confusing.

Carter led Syracuse in turnovers forced this year, with three picks and the 90-yard scoop-n-score in Memorial Stadium. With two new starting corners (Jeremiah Wilson entered the portal, then pulled his name after Duce left) and a new DC, he would’ve been the leader of the Syracuse back seven along with Marlowe Wax. Let’s not forget, Carter was a host of the Mob Podcast as well. Oh, the betrayal!

Chances are Duce and Carter both feel the need to leave the Salt City for two reasons. First, they don’t want to learn a new scheme as their NFL draft eligibility comes around. There’s a very high chance the pair heads to Nebraska with Tony White, or visits some other schools which run the 3-3-5. Second, they want to test the NIL waters. It’s very clear there is next to no NIL money around the ‘Cuse football program, and players with proven track records like these two want bigger endorsement deals that more NIL-entrenched football programs can offer.

It stinks for Alijah Clark, who transferred to SU to play with his Camden High School teammate and close friend. It stinks for ‘Cuse fans, who took a liking to both players from day one. And it stinks for Nick Monroe or whoever leads this defense next year to have to fill more slots. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, these coaches produce NFL DB talent, regardless of who’s back there.

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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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