Orange Fizz


Chestnut and Carter Make All-Transfer Team

They say the transfer portal giveth, and it taketh away. For Syracuse, the latter part was certainly true this offseason.

The trend of players making a name for themselves early in their careers at smaller programs and graduating to high end schools caught up with the Orange this winter when Duce Chestnut heading to LSU and Ja’Had Carter departing for Ohio State.

Earlier this week, On3 released an “all transfer team,” which highlighted the best transfers at every position this offseason, SU fans won’t be surprised to know that both Chestnut and Carter were on it.

With Garrett Williams heading to the NFL, that duo was set to anchor a secondary that has become a backbone for the Syracuse program. Andre Cisco, Ife Melifonwu, Trill Williams and now Garrett Williams have all entered the NFL in the last three seasons.

Chestnut seemed like the obvious next in line. Despite a lack of prototypical size, he was a starter as soon as he stepped on campus and earned all-ACC honors as a freshman. Carter, meanwhile, also had a big freshman season in 2020 with over 50 tackles and two interceptions. He battled injuries in 2021, but last year, he came into his own with three picks and showing himself to be effective both playing the role of a traditional safety and covering receivers out of the slot.

If you’re a Syracuse football fan, you have to get used to this. The modest success the Orange have had over the last few years has been through signing three star, occasionally four, star prospects and developing them into NFL players. Dino Babers and his coaching staff should be commended for that, both from a scouting and player development perspective.

The issue the Orange run into is the current state of college athletics. Part of that is NIL. Syracuse and its boosters can’t compete financially with the likes of Ohio State and LSU. The other is, obviously, the nature of the portal.

Every college athlete is on a one year contract with a player option for the following season. It’s hard to blame players who have the opportunity to go to top 10, potentially College Football Playoff caliber, programs with amenities and support staffs that are better than most NFL teams.

Where does that leave Syracuse? It puts even more of an emphasis on scouting and player development. The Orange need to continue finding the right prospects who are overlooked by bigger programs and turning them into stars at an even faster rate.

That’s not to say every star player will definitely leave Syracuse or comparable programs to pursue bigger and better things at the collegiate level. Take Oronde Gadsden. With his size, athleticism, skillset and versatility, it’s hard to imagine many programs around the country where he wouldn’t have a role. But, for whatever reason, he stayed.

The program can survive and have some success in this new world that it operates in. But, it needs to operate like a small market baseball team: make shrewd moves and outsmart everyone else.

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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