Page 1

RISING ABOVE t h e i n de p e n de n t s t u de n t n e w s pa p e r of s y r ac u s e , n e w yor k |

dailyorange.com

2017 SPRING FOOTBALL GUIDE


the daily orange 2017 spring football guide

2 april 21-22, 2017

t h e i n de p e n de n t s t u de n t n e w s pa p e r of s y r a c u s e , n e w yor k

Justin Mattingly Alexa DĂ­az MANAGING EDITOR

SALES & SERVICE CO. Proudly Cheering for the ORANGE for over 30 years! Serving students and staff for over 30 years! Quality Tires and Services

www.Big4Tire.com 300 East First Street E. Syracuse, NY 13057 (315) 432 - 4444 Fax (315) 434 - 9555

149 Midler Park Drive Syracuse, NY 13206 (315) 473 - 0329

Sports Editor Presentation Director Photo Editor Copy Chief Digital Editor Social Media Director Video Editor Web Developer Asst. Sports Editor Asst. Sports Editor Asst. Photo Editor Design Editor Design Editor Asst. Copy Editor Asst. Copy Editor Asst. Video Editor Asst. Video Editor Asst. Web Editor Digital Design Editor General Manager Assistant to the GM IT Manager Business Assistant Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Representative Advertising Designer Advertising Designer Digital Advertising Manager Social Media Manager Special Events Coordinator Special Events Coordinator Circulation Manager

INSIDE Branching out

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Tomer Langer Lucy Naland Ally Moreo Clare Ramirez Rachel Sandler Benjamin Farr Amanda Caffey Mimi Xiong Sam Fortier Matthew Gutierrez Jacob Greenfeld Ali Harford Rori Sachs Charlie DiStuco Andrew Graham Brigid Kennedy Lizzie Michael Nick Alvarez Emma Comtois Mike Dooling David Hayashi Maxwell Burggraf Tim Bennett Hannah Breda Alanna Quinlan Lucy Sutphin Catherine Caruso Elaina Berkowitz Heather Day Alison Koerbel Angela Anastasi Tyler Coleman Emily Chalon Claire Pickens Ting Peng Connor Lee Kalyn Des Jardin Sarah Stewart Taylor Sheehan Linda Bamba Charles Plumpton

Moe Neal Jr. learned unconventional lessons from his father, Moe Neal Sr., who battled drug addiction. They have a close relationship. Page 5

Through the year Spring football marks a calendar year since when Dino Babers has been hired. Look through the top moments since he joined SU. Page 6 Cover illustration by Lucy Naland | Presentation Director Jessica Sheldon | Staff Photographer

c on tac t Editor@dailyorange.com News@dailyorange.com Pulp@dailyorange.com Sports@dailyorange.com Opinion@dailyorange.com Photo@dailyorange.com Ads@dailyorange.com

EDITORIAL 315 443 9798 BUSINESS 315 443 2315 GENERAL FAX 315 443 3689 ADVERTISING 315 443 9794

The Daily Orange is published weekdays during the Syracuse University academic year by The Daily Orange Corp., 744 Ostrom Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210. All contents Copyright 2017 by The Daily Orange Corp. and may not be reprinted without the expressed written permission of the editor in chief. The Daily Orange is distributed on and around campus with the first two copies complimentary. Each additional copy costs $1. The Daily Orange is in no way a subsidy or associated with Syracuse University. All contents Š 2017 The Daily Orange Corporation

2017 SPRING SHOWCASE SATURDAY, APRIL 22

FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE

10AM

MLAX VS BINGHAMTON

2PM

888-DOME-TIX | CUSE.COM/TICKETS


april 21-22, 2017 3

2017 spring football guide the daily orange

ANTWAN CORDY, a redshirt junior, is one of Syracuse’s best defensive players. He used football to carry himself away from violence and poverty in his hometown in Naranja, Florida, a small town near Miami. The sport became a springboard for a full scholarship to SU and starting job at the school. jessica sheldon staff photographer

‘MY ESCAPE’ How football saved Antwan Cordy’s life

By Jon Mettus

senior staff writer

S

ometimes Antwan Cordy gets caught up reflecting on his life. He thinks about growing up in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house packed with six people in a high-crime, low-income area near Miami. He thinks about old friends, either in jail or dead. He thinks about the bad decisions he almost made, the ones he easily could have made and the ones he actually did. Then he looks down at the gold football hanging at the end of the chain around his neck. “Football,” Cordy said, “that was my escape.” Football saved Cordy from what his father calls a “war zone,” where he says teenagers roam the streets with AK-47s and other guns shoved down their pants. The sport carried Cordy away from his hometown of Naranja, Florida — a small town in Miami-Dade County with a poverty rate (37.9 percent) almost triple the national average, according to 2015 American Community

Survey data — and moved him more than 1,230 miles north to Syracuse, where he’ll likely start at safety for the Orange in the fall. The redshirt junior, one of SU’s best defensive players, missed all but the first two games of last season with a fractured left forearm. It was an emotionally excruciating experience for a player who’s relied heavily on the sport and the people and resources it’s brought into his life. “Without football,” Cordy’s father Tony Mcghee said, “I don’t think he’d want to live.” ••• The first words that come to Cordy’s mind to describe his hometown are profanities, which he refrains from saying. Then come the others: dangerous, rough, a struggle. Usually, he elects not to talk about it all. Naranja is the type of place where you get shot if you look at someone the wrong way or step on their new shoes, said Mcghee, who’s lived in the area his entire life. There are hardly any jobs in the area and most are minimum wage, he continued. Mcghee dropped out of

school in eighth grade to get a job and help his mother support his siblings. Crime statistics aren’t available for Naranja because it’s too small and doesn’t have its own police department. The neighborhood he was born into left Cordy with three potential paths, he said: football, jail or an early death. Just once, he strayed down the wrong one. He had been playing football for a few years. He had already listened to and understood speeches from his coaches and parents about how football was his ticket out. But he still hung around the “bad crowd” with which he had grown up. An eighth grade graduation celebration at Universal Studios in Orlando, which included schools from the Miami area, was approaching and Cordy had nothing to wear. All of his clothes were ripped or dirty. His family couldn’t afford a new outfit. In the Miami area, Cordy thought his reputation rested on whether he had new or nice threads. He tried to steal a pair of pants see cordy page 4

Without football, I don’t think he’d want to live. tony mcghee cordy’s father


the daily orange 2017 spring football guide

4 april 21-22, 2017

CORDY jots down his thoughts in a journal and he speaks with his father for a few hours every day. They talk about school, football and anything else other than home, where Cordy’s reputation as a football player became a signal for old friends into drugs, gangs and violence to stay away. jessica sheldon staff photographer from page 3

cordy

and a shirt from a Macy’s store. A mall security guard caught Cordy and pulled him into a back room, then noticed Cordy’s T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of his youth football team and the football necklace around his neck. The security guard let Cordy go because of the promise with the sport he thought the young athlete had. When Cordy returned home and told his mom, Pamela Cordy, she “cried for days.” She feared he was doomed to the same fate as the rest of the kids on the block. “I can’t go this route,” Cordy remembered thinking as he watched his mom cry. “I can’t do this to my mom. Even though she’s struggling, I got to make something better out of this.” Cordy continued, taking a deep breath and holding back the tears forming in his eyes. “It taught me a lesson. Everybody makes mistakes. I made a big mistake, so I will never do that again.”

••• Hanging on the wall of Cordy’s apartment in Syracuse is a photo of his late aunt, Belinda Waters, who died in 2009. Before he leaves each day, he taps the picture and says “thank you.” She gifted football into Cordy’s life. Cordy was a self-described mama’s boy who rarely left the house. He bothered Waters, who he lived with at the time, by playing video games all day. His dad was fine with keeping that situation staying the same, but Waters forced Cordy to try out for the Doral Broncos at about 8 years old with her own son. The first practice left Cordy in tears. He got run over a few times and wanted to quit. A coach pulled Cordy off to the side to yell at him. “F this. I’m done,” Cordy said before taking his helmet off. “I’m ready to go home.” His aunt and mother weren’t amused. “You’re going back out there,” they told him. “You ain’t no P.” Cordy tried to hide when a coach came to pick him up the next day, but Waters found him and sent him off again. None of the offensive coaches wanted Cordy because of his size — he stands at just 5-foot-8. He struggled to comprehend the playbook, too. But he found his spot at cornerback, where he only had one play:

man-to-man. During a scrimmage a few days later, Cordy finished with about four interceptions and eight tackles, by his estimation. He ended the season with about 13 picks. “One day to the next day, it was that shocking,” Cordy said. “I never knew I had it in me. … I just took it and ran away with it. Ran away with the talent.” ••• There’s a handful of people whom Cordy credits with having vital effects on his life. He speaks about them as if the absence of just one would have allowed his life to spiral off track. In elementary school, Cordy lived with his aunt, Waters, for about two years. He’d spend the weekends with one of his youth league coaches, Fabian Guerra. In high school, he lived with South Dade (Florida) High School football coach Nathaniel Hudson for “long stretches of time … when things got bad” and when his mom struggled to pay rent. Hudson did not return four phone

Coaches bought Cordy cleats when they noticed him wearing the same ones for several years. Cordy’s naturally shy and quiet disposition left him with few friends. It perpetuated as he matured, in part, as a defense mechanism to stay out of trouble. He formed a trusted inner circle consisting of Tyre Brady, Doyle Grimes, Tadarius Wilson, Jamal Carter and Jesus Wilson. All five went on to play Division I football. “But everyone else (from Naranja) either got killed, murdered or got locked up,” Carter said. Together, they constructed a safe haven on the football field and Naranja Park. The latter was just a 15-minute walk from his home, which he navigated by putting on headphones and keeping his head down. Eventually, Cordy’s reputation as a football player became a signal for old friends and acquaintances into drugs, gangs and violence to stay away. They knew he’d be one of the few to make it out. Cordy’s signed and framed high school

I could have been in jail doing bad things or selling drugs or something like that. I could have easily did that. But I had the support ... I had everybody behind me. If I didn’t have that behind me I would have took the wrong route. antwan cordy syracuse defensive back

calls to be interviewed for this story. “(They) put clothes on my back, put shoes (on my feet), put meals on the table for me and everything,” Cordy said. When Cordy was a child, his mom sometimes struggled to pay the bills. Once, he considered doing “something really bad” before Guerra intervened and helped Cordy’s mother. “Whatever I could do, I did it to not let him get into any type of problems … just try to make his life a little easier since I know how hard it was and is,” Guerra said. “Don’t do anything stupid for money,” he always told Cordy. “Come talk to me.” Guerra sometimes took Cordy out to eat before and after practices, knowing he hadn’t eaten anything all day. He wasn’t the only one.

jersey now hangs on the wall at the Buffalo Wild Wings near his house. “I could have been in jail doing bad things or selling drugs or something like that,” Cordy said. “I could have easily did that. But I had the support … I had everybody behind me. If I didn’t have that behind me I would have took the wrong route.” ••• Sitting in the end zone at MetLife Stadium with linebacker Zaire Franklin before Syracuse played Notre Dame on Oct. 1, 2016, Cordy questioned why he even came to the game. The safety was three weeks removed from injuring his left arm when Franklin delivered a hit on Louisville wide receiver

James Quick that snapped Cordy’s forearm and sent him jogging immediately to the locker room. “Every time I go to the game, like, it’s hurting me every time,” Cordy told his teammate. Some days Cordy was overcome with anger about his injury. Other days, having the sport ripped away made him cry. He didn’t want the surgery that eventually repaired his arm. He just wanted it to heal on its own and speed up his return to the field. It was supposed to be his breakout season, he told his parents, not one spent on the sideline. Rehab meant 7 a.m. sessions with Dr. John F. Fatti and his staff at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists every day for weeks. Cordy texted his close friend and trainer Randy Scoates before winter break, asking if they could replenish the grip strength zapped by his time in a cast when he came home. As a high school junior, Cordy broke his leg, hurried back onto the field and broke it in the same place again. The pain and loss of the game was difficult to bear. He asked his father to teach him how to pray. Last season, with the fractured arm, Cordy and his father agreed not to rush it. Cordy could’ve played the final three games of the season, Mcghee said, but took the medical redshirt instead. Each day during winter break, Cordy skipped breakfast for a run at about 6 a.m. He returned at about 9 a.m. and then left to train with Scoates at Idolmaker Physique and Performance Gym at about 11. Cordy’s family didn’t see him again until after 6 p.m. Mcghee urged his son to take one day a week to rest. But Cordy never misses a day, Scoates said. Cordy’s father often hates when he comes home because of the danger — he was nearly robbed because he wore his gold chain in public during winter break. His mother cries when he leaves, sometimes compelling Cordy to stay a few extra days. The father and son talk on the phone for usually a few hours each day while Cordy is at school. Mcghee asks Cordy about class, football and anything else to keep his mind off home. Inevitably, though, Cordy’s thoughts always circles back. He’ll pull out a black marble composition notebook that he uses as a journal and he’ll jot down what he’s thinking. Football saved my life. jrmettus@syr.edu | @jmettus


april 21-22, 2017 5

2017 spring football guide the daily orange

MOE NEAL JR. (RIGHT) learned what not to do from his father, Moe Neal Sr. (left), who stayed out late, battled drug addiction and missed his son’s birth because he was in prison. Two decades later, Neal Sr. drives alone for 10 hours from his home in North Carolina to cheer on his son in the Carrier Dome. jessica sheldon staff photographer

AS HE SAYS Moe Neal Jr. driven by his father’s lessons By Jon Mettus

senior staff writer

M

oe Neal Jr. pulled back the sleeve covering up part of his right arm to reveal an elaborate design. His mother’s name, Tracy, ranges from just below his elbow down to his wrist, each letter stretching the width of his forearm. His grandmother’s name, Mae, written in script, fits on the inside of his wrist with a large set of clasped praying hands above it. It’s his family arm, he said. Doves and clouds unite the two names. He’s added a guardian angel with roses and a dove on his bicep, and there’s still enough space for his little nephew’s name and his older brother. He plans to finish the arm soon. But one person is noticeably missing. Moe Neal Sr. His father. “I’m saving something for my dad,” Moe Neal Jr. said, smiling and rubbing his arm. Moe Neal Jr., Little Moe, admits he’s a daddy’s boy. He still sits in his father’s lap like when he was a kid and sometimes stays in the hotel room when his dad visits Syracuse for games. They talk every day about football, school and girls — some conversations lead to secrets that they keep from the rest of the family.

Blessing from God to spare his life out there in the streets … and just tending me and guiding me because Lord knows where I would be without him. Moe Neal Jr. su wide receiver

Moe Neal Sr., Big Moe, didn’t miss any of Little Moe’s games in his first season at SU. He stayed with his son in Syracuse for the first week of spring practices this year, observing Little Moe’s position switch from running back to wide receiver. Little Moe is “going to play” next season, SU head coach Dino Babers said, but the coaching

staff isn’t sure where. Little Moe is driven by a desire to be just like his father yet nothing like him at all. The Big Moe of the present, who often drives 12 hours alone from his home in Gastonia, North Carolina, to SU for games, is the goal. The one of the past, who stayed out late and battled drug addictions, is what to avoid. The lessons that Big Moe learned through the good and bad parts of his life are what he’s used to shape his son. “Blessing from God to spare his life out there in the streets,” Little Moe said, “just to straighten up and to become a better dad. And just tending me and guiding me because Lord knows where I would be without him.” When Big Moe was young, he decided if he had a child that he’d want it to call him by his first name. He wanted to be a best friend. His wish came true. Though Big Moe’s birth name is Shelly, and Little Moe’s is Darius, they call each other Moe because the comparison a middle school football coach drew between Shelly and the leader of “The Three Stooges.” Big Moe had a habit of losing a shoe or running into the goal post after touchdowns. As an infant, Little Moe raced around the house in diapers and avoided the toys see neal page 8


6

2017 spring football guide the daily orange

OCT. 15, 2016 The unranked Orange upsets No. 17 Virginia Tech, 31-17, at home. “Anytime you take over a new program, you’re trying to get everybody to buy in, to work as one,” Babers said after the game, one of SU’s biggest regular-season wins in recent memory. “That’s what happened today.”

ON DOW

SEP. 2, 2016 A Babers-led unit claims its first victory at Syracuse, a 33-7 romp over FCS opponent Colgate inside the Carrier Dome. Amba Etta-Tawo caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Eric Dungey, the first touchdown in the Babers era. SU receiver Ervin Philips caught 14 passes, tied for the most in a game by an Orange receiver.

JAN. 4, 2016

Check out the key Babers’ first season

While several of Babers’ assistants had been hired and recruited during December, SU formally announced its first group of hires on Jan. 4. Babers hired defensive coordinator Brian Ward, co-offensive coordinators Sean Lewis and Mike Lynch, secondary coach Nick Monroe, special teams and linebackers coach Tom Kaufman and receivers coach Kim McCloud.

DEC. 5, 2015 Syracuse hires Dino Babers as its fifth head football coach since 2000, replacing former coach Scott Shafer. The now 55-yearold Babers played collegiately at Hawaii before beginning his coaching career there in 1984. Babers, who led Bowling Green to a Mid-American Conference championship in 2015, inherited an SU program that had been through two straight seasons without a bowl game appearance and won only 36.6 percent of games since Greg Robinson was hired in 2005.

BY THE NUMBERS

Babers’ career winning percentage as a head coach over two seasons both at Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green and one season at SU

63

34

Babers will enter his 34th season in the college football coaching profession when he leads SU this fall

52.2

Syracuse’s offensive efficiency rating in 2016, which ranked 59th out of 128 FBS schools


the daily orange 2017 spring football guide 7

NOV. 5, 2016 Babers was shut out for the first time as a head coach in a 54-0 loss to Clemson. Quarterback Eric Dungey was hurt in the first quarter of what would be his final game of the season. SU scored a career-low nine points against Wake Forest earlier in the season for Babers.

NE WN

NOV. 26, 2016 Babers completes his first season at SU with a 76-61 loss at Pittsburgh. The Panthers’ total broke SU’s 125-year points allowed record in a game and dropped SU to 4-8 for the second consecutive season. Babers missed the postseason for the first time as a head coach and the Orange failed to earn a bowl berth for the third straight season.

courtesy of stephen d. cannerelli | syracuse media group

FEB. 1, 2017

events from Dino n as SU head coach

Babers signed his first full recruiting class on Feb. 1, including Elite 11 quarterback Tommy DeVito. Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer compared DeVito to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The recruiting class was SU’s highest-ranked recruiting class since 2014, when 247sports. com ranked SU’s class 50th-best in the country. 247sports rated SU’s 2017 recruiting 55th-best in the country.

APRIL 22, 2017 The series of spring practices rounds out with the annual Spring Showcase in the Dome. Professional scouts will be in attendance for Babers’ second spring game at Syracuse, just about four months before the 2017 season opener against Central Connecticut State on Sept. 1.

61

POINTS

Here’s a look at the game-by-game production of Babers’ up-tempo offense in 2016

33

31

28

33

31

28

20

20 9

14

0 COLGATE USF NOTRE DAME VIRGINIA TECH CLEMSON FLORIDA STATE LOUISVILLE CONNECTICUT WAKE FOREST BOSTON COLLEGE NC STATE PITTSBURGH


the daily orange 2017 spring football guide

8 april 21-22, 2017

from page 5

neal

littered across the floor without having to look down. Big Moe watched, impressed, realizing he could groom his son into a talented athlete — when he was home. The father’s penchant for late nights and drugs drove a wedge between the family. Sometimes he’d be out until the early hours of the morning. Other times, he wouldn’t come home at all. He missed Little Moe’s birth because he was in prison, Little Moe said. The father met his son when the baby came home from the hospital, and then Big Moe went away to either rehab or a halfway house, his stepson Preston Watts said. By age 7 or 8, Little Moe realized what was going on. He was disappointed in his father, though he never discussed it with the rest of the family. “Where are you going?” Little Moe asked when his dad was leaving at night. “I’m going to see a man about a dog,” Big Moe always replied. Little Moe didn’t know what to do except go to his room and pray. He asked for help for his father to stay straight “while he was doing bad.” He implored God to bring his dad home. Dear Lord, please look over my father as he’s out there in the streets. “Just making bad decisions,” Big Moe said of his life at the time. He declined to say any more than that. With his father gone and his mother working multiple shifts every day to support the family, Little Moe was raised in part by Watts, his older half-brother. Watts cooked noodles and taught Little Moe how to play Madden by age 4. Watts was the one to ensure his little brother got to bed on time. Still, Big Moe and Little Moe were — and are — inseparable. They played sports together, talked and cried. Little Moe found it “easy” to love his dad through the “rough times.”

“If something happens to you, we’re gonna have to put that boy in the grave with you,” Big Moe recalls his mother telling him. Big Moe was out late one night when Little Moe was in elementary school. He was riding around on his moped when two men approached him. One smacked him in the head with a pistol and knocked him to the ground. The man stood over Big Moe, put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. It jammed. Big Moe heard the click, got up and ran away. When he arrived home, Big Moe was beat up “really pretty bad,” Watts said. “Very brutal.” “He told us he was done with that lifestyle. He wasn’t trying to do that no more. He was ready to better himself.” The family believed him, Watts said. When Little Moe hit middle school, his father started talking to him about drugs. Big Moe hid nothing. He didn’t want his son to be “green” to the world. His No. 1 lesson: Do as I say, not as you see me do. “You be a leader not a follower,” Big Moe told his son. “Be better than me. Take that next step. You lead.” Little Moe saw a man who had almost thrown his life away. He knew he didn’t want to do the same. That was more powerful than any lecture could be. Sometimes, though, Big Moe thought his son wasn’t listening. It took until the two went to watch a high school football game together that it all finally clicked. As they walked up to the stadium, Big Moe stopped his son, specifically telling him not to horseplay or run around. But as they got through the gate, Little Moe pushed his friend and took off running, only to fall partly into a manhole that was covered up by grass. He gashed his leg down to the “meat, the white part” of his leg. Big Moe took his son to the hospital to get several stitches. “Son, I want you to understand just listen to me,” Big Moe said as his son cried. “I promise you I won’t tell you anything wrong. Just listen, I got you.” Looking back on the moment, Little Moe

NEAL JR. AND HIS FATHER share a special bond. Neal Sr. vowed to be a better father after almost being killed on the streets. jessica sheldon staff photographer

believes God intervened just to show him that his father wanted to help him. To start listening to him. Big Moe taught his son to have a firm handshake, make eye contact and eat properly at a table. He drilled him with mock interview questions as the two lifted weights in the backyard. Big Moe knew his son would have to face them some day. Above all else: stay straight and stay within yourself. Don’t let anyone throw you off course. When Little Moe’s friends were doing drugs at parties, he’d say no, he said. His dad often called or texted, urging him to come home. Most of the time, Big Moe advised against going at all. At school, Big Moe constantly visited the counselor’s office, checking in on his son’s grades and the paperwork Little Moe needed for college — a dream Big Moe always had for himself but never attained. He pestered the teachers and principal enough to help Little

Moe graduate high school early and enroll at SU in the spring. “Everything I see, I tell him,” Big Moe said. “Everything he says comes to pass,” Little Moe said. Big Moe spends several days and weeks at a time in Syracuse on what he calls his little vacations. Players, coaches and others will often tell him how great of a father he is. What they don’t realize, Big Moe said, is how great his son has been for him. The focus once geared toward negative influences is now fixed on his son. Little Moe isn’t planning to add his dad’s name with the rest of the family on his arm. He wants an etching of his father’s face, likely on his chest above his own heart. “He sees himself in me,” Little Moe said. “He lives his life through me. That’s what he always says. He don’t want to see me throw my life away like he did growing up. He just tries to guide me in the right direction.” jrmettus@syr.edu | @jmettus

S Y R A C U S E AT H L E T I C S INTRODUCING THE

2017-18 STUDENT PASS THE FIRST 2,500 STUDENTS WILL RECEIVE A PAIR OF OTTO SOCKS!

PURCHASE YOUR STUDENT PASS (SEASON TICKETS) TODAY AND RECEIVE THE OTTO SOCKS!

SIGN UP K TODAY! CUSE.COM/TICKETS


april 21-22, 2017 9

2017 spring football guide the daily orange

Wide receivers unit confident even without Amba Etta-Tawo

ERVIN PHILIPS leads a wide receivers group tasked with replacing 1,482 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns from 2016. Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse’s first Associated Press All-American since 2001, has graduated, leaving Philips, Moe Neal, Steve Ishmael, Jamal Custis, Devin Butler and Sean Riley to try to fill the void. jessica sheldon staff photogrpher

By Tomer Langer sports editor

Most of Syracuse’s players walked off the field as their 10th spring practice ended. The defensive players headed straight out of Ensley Athletic Center, while a few of the offensive players lingered. The wide receivers didn’t join the group heading off. Instead, senior Ervin Philips played cornerback against running back convert Moe Neal. Steve Ishmael and Devin Butler lined up by the JUGS machine and took turns catching some extra passes, alternating sides as they went along. “Those wide receivers,” someone quipped. “They’re always the last ones to get here.” The unit is missing a major piece from last year’s team with the departure of Amba Etta-Tawo, who had the second-most receiving yards (1,482) and fourth-most touchdowns (14) among Power 5 receivers. Even without its first Associated Press AllAmerican since 2001, Syracuse’s coaches and players remain confident in the group’s ability to produce. “We may not have one guy as dynamic as Amba,” head coach Dino Babers said March 28 after the fourth spring practice, “but I think overall it will be a better receiving group from top to bottom.” SU returns two of its most-used receivers in Ishmael, who was the No. 2 receiver on the outside a year ago, and Philips, the lead inside receiver. The current depth chart has redshirt junior Jamal Custis in Ishmael’s spot from a year ago. Custis missed all of last season with an injury, but in his first two years, he amassed five receptions.

Babers’ system, specifically from a passing perspective, directly contrasts from Scott Shafer’s. In Babers’ first year, the Orange had 332 receptions, whereas two years ago it had 164. Last year, redshirt senior Alvin Cornelius replaced a banged-up Ishmael. He had seven receptions over the three games he played a majority of the snaps for. His seven receptions were more than he had in 2015. Custis’ 6-foot-5 frame gives him unmatched size on the outside — it’s just a matter of whether he can capitalize. He’s had a full year to observe how his teammates handled the new system, but he has needed reps to get used to it. “It’s better to actually do it than just reading and trying to learn the plays like that,” Custis said. “… It was a little tough just trying to read it out the book and remember it, but once I started getting back, it started coming back.” Behind Custis is sophomore Devin Butler. Butler appeared in just five games after wrestling with some injuries throughout the season. Even when he was active, his time on the field was very limited as he learned the new system. But his athletic background — he was a sprinter in high school — makes him an interesting prospect on the outside. Babers’ system also frequently featured four wide receiver sets, so Etta-Tawo isn’t the only regular SU will have to replace. The other inside receiver, Brisly Estime, is also gone. Currently, sophomore Sean Riley is listed in his place on the depth chart. At 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, Riley relies mostly on his speed to make plays. That made him one of the primary kick returners for the Orange last year. He struggled securing kicks (Cuse.com does not track

individual fumbles), but the sophomore has impressed this spring. “Sean Riley has definitely stepped up,” Philips said. “… he’s a guy who didn’t get many reps last year, so he’s catching up, but he’s been doing some good things.” Behind Riley figures to be Neal, though it’s unclear exactly what his role in the offense will be. As a running back last year he had 68 carries and caught only two passes.

38.4

Percentage of Syracuse’s receiving yards that Amba EttaTawo accounted for last year

Throughout the spring, he has flashed some positional versatility. He began many practices with the other wide receivers on routine pass and catching drills. In later practices, when the running backs caught balls out of the backfield, Neal worked with them. Babers even joked he may be on the defense at some point this year. More freshmen will join the Orange at the start of training camp in the summer. And while Ishmael’s and Philips’ roles on the team are probably safe, the rest of the core is developing behind them. The group is ready to collectively replace the recordsetting Etta-Tawo. “We’re going to be a lot more disciplined in that group,” Babers said. “Overall, I think we’re going to be better.” tdlanger@syr.edu | @tomer_langer


the daily orange 2017 spring football guide

10 april 21-22, 2017

2017 FOOTBALL ROSTER NO.

NAME

POS.

CL.

HT.

WT.

HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL/PREVIOUS SCHOOL)

2

Eric Dungey

QB

Jr.

6-3

221

Lake Oswego, Ore. (Lakeridge)

3

Ervin Philips

WR

Sr.

5-11

184

West Haven, Conn. (West Haven)

4

Zaire Franklin

LB

Sr.

6-0

244

Philadelphia, Pa. (La Salle College HS)

4

Dontae Strickland

RB

Jr.

5-11

205

Dayton, N.J. (South Brunswick)

5

Devin C. Butler

WR

So.

6-3

202

District Heights, Md. (Frederick Douglass)

6

Rodney Williams

DB

R-Jr.

5-10

192

Cherry Hill, N.J. (Cherry Hill West)

8

Antwan Cordy

DB

R-Jr.

5-8

183

Homestead, Fla. (South Dade)

8

Steve Ishmael

WR

Sr.

6-2

213

Miami, Fla. (North Miami Beach)

9

Juwan Dowels

DB

R-Jr.

5-10

182

Sunrise, Fla. (American Heritage)

10

Devin M. Butler

DB

R-Sr.

6-1

184

Washington, D.C. (Gonzaga/Notre Dame)

10

Sean Riley

WR

So.

5-8

150

Playa del Rey, Calif. (Narbonne)

11

Devon Clarke

DB

R-Fr.

6-2

186

Kissimmee, Fla. (Osceola)

11

Mo Hasan

QB

R-Fr.

6-3

194

Coral Gables, Fla. (Dillard)

12

Andrew Armstrong

LB

So.

6-2

229

Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney)

14

Evan Foster

DB

So.

6-0

208

West Bloomfield, Mich. (West Bloomfield)

14

Ravian Pierce

TE

Jr.

6-3

234

Plantation, Fla. (Plantation /Southwest Mississippi CC)

15

Rex Culpepper

QB

R-Fr.

6-3

224

Tampa, Fla. (Plant)

15

Anthony Lombardi

DB

R-Fr.

6-3

211

Stamford, Conn. (Trinity Catholic)

16

Carl Jones

DB

So.

6-1

182

Twinsburg, Ohio (St. Edward)

16

Zack Mahoney

QB

Sr.

6-2

222

LaGrange Park, Ill. (Lyons Township/College of DuPage)

17

Jamal Custis

WR

R-Jr.

6-5

219

Philadelphia, Pa. (Neumann-Goreƫ )

18

Scoop Bradshaw

DB

So.

5-11

173

Tampa, Fla. (Plant)

19

Daivon Ellison

DB

Jr.

5-8

175

Linden, N.J. (Don Bosco Prep)

19

Tyler Gilfus

WR

R-Fr.

6-1

193

Cape Vincent, N.Y. (Thousand Islands)

20

Cordell Hudson

DB

R-Jr.

5-11

173

Largo, Fla. (Largo)

21

Moe Neal

WR

So.

5-11

179

Gastonia, N.C. (Forestview)

23

Jonathan Thomas

LB

Sr.

6-1

209

Lawrenceville, Ga. (Collins Hill)

24

Shyheim Cullen

LB

R-So.

6-0

213

Lowell, Mass. (Lowell)

25

Kielan Whitner

DB

Jr.

6-0

196

Lawrenceville, Ga. (Mountain View)

26

Sean Onwualu

DB

Jr.

6-1

188

Sylmar, Calif. (Granada Hills Charter)

26

Tyrone Perkins

RB

Jr.

6-0

201

Glen Head, N.Y. (Friends Academy)

27

Nadarius Fagan

LB

Fr.

6-1

194

Goulds, Fla. (Miami Southridge)

28

Christopher Fredrick

DB

R-So.

5-11

194

Conley, Ga. (Cedar Grove)

29

Otto Zaccardo

RB

So.

5-10

195

Sudbury, Mass. (Lincoln-Sudbury/Worcester Academy)

30

Parris Bennett

LB

Sr.

6-0

225

Detroit, Mich. (University of Detroit Jesuit)

31

Kyle Kleinberg

TE

Jr.

6-0

215

Armonk, N.Y. (Don Bosco Prep (N.J.)

35

Sterling Hofrichter

P

R-So.

5-9

198

Valrico, Fla. (Armwood)

35

Kyle Strickland

DB

R-Fr.

6-0

176

Roswell, Ga. (Roswell)

36

Tim Walton

LB

R-Fr.

6-2

230

Detroit, Mich. (Cass Technical)

38

Alex Grossman

K

R-Sr.

5-9

155

Woodbury, N.Y. (Syosset)

39

Troy Henderson

LB

R-So.

5-11

220

Cleveland, Ohio (St. Edward)

40

Zack Lesko

LB

R-Fr.

6-0

215

Solon, Ohio (Solon)

41

Ryan Guthrie

LB

Jr.

6-2

215

Cumming, Ga. (West Forsyth/Ellsworth CC)

45

Kenneth Ruff

DL

So.

6-1

278

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Dillard)

46

Adam Dulka

LB

R-Fr.

5-9

222

Brecksville, Ohio (Huntington Valley University School)

47

Matt Keller

LS

Jr.

5-11

221

Willow Street, Pa. (Penn Manor)

48

Cole Murphy

K

Sr.

6-3

226

Castaic, Calif. (Valencia)

49

Jesse Conners

TE

R-Fr.

6-2

222

Pittsford, N.Y. (Salisbury School (Conn.)/Holy Cross)

51

Jaquwan Nelson

DL

R-Fr.

6-3

235

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Ft. Lauderdale)

52

Kayton Samuels

DL

R-Jr.

6-0

316

Ellenwood, Ga. (Arabia Mountain)

53

Nathan Hines

LS

R-Jr.

6-6

246

Catonsville, Md. (Catonsville)

55

Kendall Coleman

DL

So.

6-3

248

Indianapolis, Ind. (Cathedral)

56

Liam O’Sullivan

OL

R-Fr.

6-8

267

Chicago, Ill. (Maine South)

58

Donnie Foster

OL

R-Jr.

6-3

314

Savannah, Ga. (IMG Academy (Fla.)

59

Aaron Roberts

OL

R-Jr.

6-4

289

Chicago, Ill. (De La Salle Institute)

60

Cody Conway

OL

Jr.

6-6

300

Plainfield, Ill. (Plainfield North)

61

Samuel Clausman

OL

R-So.

6-3

327

Pembroke Pines, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

63

Evan Adams

OL

R-So.

6-6

337

Norwalk, Conn. (Norwalk)

64

Colin Byrne

OL

R-So.

6-5

300

Coral Springs, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

65

Jamar McGloster

OL

R-Sr.

6-7

302

Hillside, N.J. (Saint Anthony)

68

Airon Servais

OL

R-Fr.

6-6

303

Green Bay, Wis. (Ashwaubenon)

69

Patrick Davis

OL

Fr.

6-5

312

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada (Champlain Regional)

72

Andrejas Duerig

OL

R-So.

6-3

322

Lowell, Ind. (Mount Carmel)

75

Sam Heckel

OL

R-Fr.

6-4

289

Waukesha, Wis. (Waukesha West)

76

Keaton Darney

OL

R-Jr.

6-3

277

Los Angeles, Calif. (Loyola)

77

Mike Clark

OL

R-Fr.

6-8

293

Exton, Pa. (Downingtown East)

80

K.K. Hahn

WR

R-Fr.

5-10

169

Bethesda, Md. (IMG Academy (Fla.)

83

Sean Avant

WR

R-Sr.

5-10

213

Miramar, Fla. (Miramar)

84

Joe Pasquale

TE

Jr.

6-6

244

Valley Stream, N.Y. (Hewlett)

85

Josh Black

DL

So.

6-3

256

Loves Park, Ill. (Harlem)

86

Adly Enoicy

WR

R-Jr.

6-5

227

Delray Beach, Fla. (Atlanic Community)

88

Clay Austin

WR

Sr.

5-9

172

Montclair, N.J. (Seton Hall Prep)

90

Emerson Womble

K

So.

5-9

180

Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley North)

92

Nolan Cooney

P/K

R-Fr.

6-3

208

E. Greenwich, R.I. (E. Greenwich/Bridgton Academy (Maine)

94

Steven Clark

DL

Jr.

6-2

297

Arab, Ala. (Brindlee Mountain)

95

Chis Slayton

DL

R-Jr.

6-4

314

University Park, Ill. (Crete Monee)

98

McKinley Williams

DL

So.

6-4

294

Miramar, Fla. (Dillard)

99

Jake Pickard

DL

R-So.

6-5

254

Short Hills, N.J. (Millburn)


april 21-22, 2017 11

2017 spring football guide the daily orange

2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE HOME/AWAY OPPONENT

DATE

Home

Central Connecticut State

Sept. 1

Home

Middle Tennessee State

Sept. 9

Home

Central Michigan

Sept. 16

Away

Louisiana State

Sept. 23

Away

North Carolina State

Sept. 30

Home

Pittsburgh

Oct. 7

Home

Clemson

Oct. 13

Away

Miami (FL)

Oct. 21

Away

Florida State

Nov. 4

Home

Wake Forest

Nov. 11

Away

Louisville

Nov. 18

Home

Boston College

Nov. 25

MONDAY – WEDNESDAY 8 A.M. – 1 P.M. THURSDAY – SATURDAY open 24 hours SUNDAY open until 12 A.M.

Your pleasure is our passion.

Smoking supplies & adult toys We are the closest shop for adult products and smoking accessories! Only 10 minutes from campus!

BEST PRICES IN SYRACUSE ON Smoking accessories Adult fun * hookahs * lingerie * glass * adult toys * vaporizors * novelties

& much more... SATURDAY COLLEGE PROMOTION

Show your college ID and get 10% off your purchase of $20 or more on anything in the store.

2576 Erie Blvd. East / (315) 446-1595 / www.BoulevardBooks.net / Follow us on Facebook & Twitter


12 april 21-22, 2017

WING EATING CONTEST 250 Winner gets $

the daily orange 2017 spring football guide

3 PM

cash

CUSE CRAWL 12

&

May 5 8 PM-2 AM, Armory Square

nated to o d is h s a c 0 $25 Over s g in W y b e ng The Daily Ora

11 BARS-12 BUCKS-1 WILD NIGHT! Tickets available at www.showclix.com/event/cuse-crawl-12

Come HUNGRY to

{

BEATS AND EATS for more details!

#1 Mazda Dealer North East (D7)

Call us 315-446-ZOOM (9666) Ask About CNY Pkg. $1,335 Value

ALL LEASES OR $ 700 CASH TRADE DOWN

$500 Military Appreciation Discount

$830 DESTINATION INCLUDED $595 ACQUISITION FEE INCLUDED

All New Arrival

2017 Mazda3 LEASE FOR

199

$

*

All New Arrival

Sport

2017 Mazda6 LEASE FOR

#8137 Vin #101827

Backup Bluetooth Camera

*/mo

GAP INSURANCE INCLUDED

2017 Mazda CX-3 Sport AWD LEASE FOR

NO FUZZY MATH

(RF) Hardtop Convertible

LEASE FOR

MSRP $23,830

#8111 Vin #158138

219 36 mos.

$

* /mo

Auto Alloys

SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY

MSRP $22,110 Bluetooth

39 Available

Backup Camera

SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY

All New Arrival LEASE FOR

AWD

MSRP $31,070

11 Available

Retractable Fastback

All New Arrival

2017 Mazda CX-9 SPORT AWD LEASE FOR

#7610 Vin #842869

#8182 Vin #128540

349 36 mos.

249 36 mos. */mo

* /mo

®

2016.5 Mazda CX-5 Sport AWD

$

#8159 Vin #100247

429 36 mos.

$

130 Available

Alloys

All New Arrival

$1,000 INSURANCE FOR EXCESS WEAR & TEAR INCLUDED

All New Arrival

2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata

#8023 Vin #100337

SKYACTIV® Bluetooth TECHNOLOGY

Auto

3120 Erie Blvd. East Syracuse

Sport

239 36 mos.

$

MSRP $19,680

150 Available

SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY

Lease Pull Ahead

$500 Owner Loyalty on All 2017 Mazdas

8% TAX INCLUDED

Everything Included

(Based off monthly sales report March 2017)

$750 MCS Lease Loyalty on ALL 2016.5 Mazdas

See dealer for details

Like us on Facebook!

NO FUZZY MATH!

Mazda

Which New Car Discount Do You Qualify For?

}

Win two tickets to the crawl by tweeting us a picture of this ad @dailyorange and use #CuseCrawl12

$

MSRP $25,795

63 Available Backup SKYACTIV® Bluetooth AWD Camera TECHNOLOGY Alloys

*/mo

MSRP $35,565

SKYACTIV® Bluetooth TECHNOLOGY Heated Seats

34 Available Backup 3rd Row Camera Seats

SECURITY DEPOSIT WAIVED

LEFTOVERS AND 2016’S NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD! 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata GT Convertible 2016.5 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

2016 Mazda6 i Sport

2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD

#2496P Auto, air, pw, pl, tilt, cruise, SKYACTIV, Navigation, Sirius satellite radio, only 7,215 miles

#2470P Auto, air, pw, pl, SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, alloys, Tech Pkg., leather, sunroof, navigation, 7,719 miles

#2389P, Auto, air, pw, pl, SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY, bluetooth, alloys, 5,449 miles

#2390P sunroof, SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY, leather, Auto, air, pw, pl, Bluetooth, alloys, 7,193 miles

ORIGINAL MSRP $31,030

ORIGINAL MSRP $33,725

ORIGINAL MSRP $23,925

ORIGINAL MSRP $26,050

$ BUY FOR

$ BUY FOR

BUY FOR

BUY FOR

27,030

$

4000

$

0%

*****

OR

ORIGINAL MSRP OFF & no payment until July

for 60 mos.

29,725

4000 0

$

*****

OR

ORIGINAL OFF MSRP & no payment until July

%

for 60 mos.

19,925

4000 0

$

*****

OR

ORIGINAL OFF MSRP & no payment until July

%

for 60 mos.

22,050

$

4000 0

$

*****

OR

OFF ORIGINAL MSRP & no payment until July

%

for 60 mos.

#2482P Auto, air, SKYACTIV, Pw, Pl, 5,941 miles

ORIGINAL MSRP $45,070 BUY FOR

$

40,070

5000

$

*****

OR

0%

ORIGINAL MSRP OFF & no payment until July

for 63 mos.

*All leases include 8% tax, $595 acquisition fee included, security deposit waived, $830 Destination Included, gap insurance included, $1,000 Excess wear & tear included. First payment, 97.50 fees and DMV extra. 10k miles/year 15 cent/mile penalty thereafter. Customer must be approved through MCS for all leases and buy prices. ****No payment until July 2017 for qualified buyers through MCS (60 month term). Interest accrues at the inception of the loan.*****Low APR financing is available to customers with approved credit through MCS no down payment is required. For complete details live photos & videos of all our inventory in stock visit us at Romano mazda.com. Expires 4.22.17

Profile for The Daily Orange

2017 Spring Football Guide  

2017 Spring Football Guide  

Advertisement