As the old saying goes, respect is earned and not given. With that in mind, it’s kind of odd that Syracuse football and its players are getting so little respect this preseason, highlighting the lingering perception that the Orange are a bottom of the barrel program. The latest example appears to be in ESPN.com’s ACC blog, which has been counting down the top 25 players in the conference. So far they’ve listed numbers 11-25, and no Syracuse players have made the list.
Of course that begs the question: does Syracuse legitimately have a gripe here? It’s not likely the Orange will place anyone in the top 10, though it’s obviously not outside the realm of possibility. After all, maybe the writers of the ACC blog have a higher view of Sean Hickey than we could have anticipated. But it seems almost certain that when the top 25 players are counted all the way down to Jameis Winston at number one, not a single Orangeman will have been pegged good enough to make the list.
Syracuse is obviously below the talent level of new conference rivals like Florida State and Clemson, who have a combined seven of the first 15 players listed thus far (with FSU getting five guys on the list). At this point in the preseason, there are realistically on a couple guys from Syracuse who could have been mentioned, and chances are if they had been they would have made the list in the 15-25 range.
One of those guys is the aforementioned Hickey, who will be playing tackle in the NFL a year from now. The other contender would most likely be Durell Eskridge, a guy who does at least appear to be on Mel Kiper’s radar after Kiper rated him the fifth best underclassman at the safety position in the nation. For what it’s worth, Kiper does not currently have Hickey rated as one of his five best at any position on the offensive line.
Of course in the defense of Hickey, so far the ACC bloggers at ESPN haven’t shown a whole lot of respect to offensive linemen in general. Of the first 15 players listed, zero are guys on the O-line. Hickey is a preseason first team all-ACC selection, so at least the coaches and media recognize him as one of the top players at least at his position heading into 2014. Two safeties are among the first 15, including Duke’s Jeremy Cash.
So what say you, Orange Nation? Is this a tremendous oversight by the folks at ESPN, or does Syracuse still have a ways to go to earn that respect? Or hell, will we all be stunned later this week and see Hickey or Eskridge pop up in the top 10? Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think.