Less than a week after Benny Williams was dismissed from the Syracuse basketball team, Damien Alford has met the same fate from the football team. Pete Thamel of ESPN reported Monday that the receiver was dismissed from the team and that he would not return in 2024:
“Alford,” Thamel wrote, “who caught 33 passes for a team-high 610 yards and three touchdowns during his junior season, plans to enter the NCAA transfer portal as a graduate transfer, according to a source. He averaged 18.5 yards per catch last season. In 2022, he averaged 21.5 yards a catch on 20 receptions. Overall, he played in 42 games and totaled 67 catches for 1,291 yards. Alford had considered entering the portal after Syracuse’s bowl game this year before ultimately returning this spring, in part to graduate, a source said. He is expected to have a strong market for his services, considering his production in recent seasons. The departure of Alford is part of a significant roster shake-up at Syracuse under first-year coach Fran Brown.”
The move continues to clear up more room in the receiver group for Syracuse head of Brown’s first season in Central New York, as he is clearly putting his stamp on things and making the changes he feels necessary, as Thamel pointed out in his story.
“There have been 37 departures from Syracuse roster since the end of last season, including walk-ons and players who have exhausted their eligibility. Brown has brought in 34 new players via the portal and recruiting,” the ESPN college football insider said.
Alford had always been a player with a lot of potential, who scored that memorable game-winning touchdown at Virginia Tech in 2021, and Dino Babers referred to as “Bambi” in his early years before he became a moose more recently as a captain and elder statesman.
“Alford committed to Syracuse in the class of 2020 after a season spent in the states playing at McArthur High School in Florida,” syracuse.com’s Emily Leiker wrote. “He was a three-star prospect at the time and the No. 120 wide receiver in the class. The Orange have added significant depth to a wide receiving group that wasn’t without its challenges this past season since Fran Brown was hired as head coach in December. SU landed two transfers from Georgia, Zeed Haynes and Jackson Meeks, and also signed five high school receivers.”
This continues the theme of Brown charting his own path at Syracuse in 2024, including changes to recruiting, coaching, nutrition, alumni relations, and more. SU’s spring game is expected to be different this year than under Babers, and expectations are high for Fran Brown in year one. Damien Alford’s dismissal is just another move that signifies the new era of Syracuse football under the new head coach.