Each year, some players stand out in the preseason and earn starting jobs. Last year, the breakout star was Oronde Gadsden. Since then, the TE has been named a preseason All-American. This year’s surprise starter is WR Donovan Brown. The redshirt freshman was a three-star recruit out of high school and committed to the Orange the same day he received his offer. Syracuse was the first Power Five offer for the Maryland native but Vanderbilt did express interest a few months later.
Brown is a speed threat, winning multiple state championships in Track and Field in high school. A star at Maryland public school powerhouse Quince Orchard (my alma mater), Brown was the top receiver on the 2021 state championship team. Brown played with Penn State edge rusher and projected first-round pick Demioun Robinson. Before Quince Orchard, Brown played for two years at another Maryland public school, Watkins Mill.
Throughout fall camp, Brown’s name was very mentioned very often. Many times though, it was Carlos Del Rio Wilson throwing him the ball, not Garrett Shrader. Because of this, it comes as a surprise that Brown landed a starting spot, but with Shrader being limited you can’t read into it too much.
Brown was put in the starting slot role, with the two wideouts being Isaiah Jones and Damien Alford. The starting role for Brown may be temporary, however, with Trebor Pena sidelined with an injury. Brown was also named the backup punt returner and kick returner. With his speed, he can be a deadly threat with the ball in his hands.
Syracuse fans have been dreaming for a second receiving option to breakout since last season. Brown is the only WR listed on the depth chart who hasn’t seen much in-game time. Could he have what it takes to be the guy?