If you’ve been reading this site consistently, you’ll probably notice that over the past week I’ve put a few questions out on Twitter and then turned around and talked about the results in ensuing posts. Well, today (and by extension, yesterday) is no different. Three new transfers will be taking the field for Syracuse this season. Which one will have the biggest impact?
Junior college transfer Michael Moore and graduate transfers Amba Etta-Tawo and De’Jon Wilson will all have a chance to get on the field early this season. All three are helped by the fact that it’s pretty much a blank slate for everyone, given the new offensive and defensive systems being installed under first year head coach Dino Babers.
So the question, obviously, is which one will have the best chance at being a difference maker?
The first thing to look at is, obviously, the depth chart. Looking strictly at the depth and experience at the positions our three new transfers play, the picture begins looking significantly clearer. Well, at least on paper.
Wilson, a defensive end who sat all of 2015 and came to Syracuse from Colorado, joins arguably the thinnest, and certainly the most inexperienced unit on the team. No one on the Orange roster has taken a snap at defensive end in a Syracuse uniform, which gives a guy like Wilson – who, despite not playing last season, has played at the college level in the past and has a few years in a college strength and conditioning program already under his belt.
That would seem to give him a big advantage over Syracuse’s plethora of true freshmen, which will make up the bulk of the depth at defensive end.
Etta-Tawo, meanwhile, comes to Syracuse from Maryland and offers the Orange offense another wide receiver with solid size (6-foot-2, 202 pounds) and great speed. He had 61 catches in three seasons for the Terps, but struggled a little with drops. Out of the three position groups being joined by transfers, the wide receivers would appear to be the deepest and most talented. So with that in mind, Etta-Tawo would seemingly have the taller hill to climb for meaningful reps.
However, with the number of receivers that get used in the Babers offense, there’s certainly a good opportunity for Etta-Tawo to get a lot of reps. After Steve Ishmael, the outside receiver position is pretty murky. Alvin Cornelius is currently penciled in as the other starter at outside WR, but he’s always been a guy who looks great in the spring but kind of vanishes in the fall. Is that more a product of the previous staff’s offense, or is it an issue with Cornelius?
Nevertheless, outside receiver is a position with some uncertainties. After Ishmael, who will be the next best threat on the outside? With his size, speed, and experience, Etta-Tawo could be the answer.
Moore, meanwhile, joins the position group that struggled arguably as much as any other unit on the team last season. The cornerback position certainly has some promising young players, like Corey Winfield, Cordell Hudson, and Juwan Dowels, but virtually nothing is set in stone at the position. It’s a prime opportunity for an older, more physically imposing cornerback like Moore to jump in and earn a big role.
At 6-foot-2, 180 he’s right alongside Winfield as the biggest corner on the team (Winfield is listed on the official roster at 6-foot-1, 190; Moore hasn’t been officially measured yet). It’s no secret that defensive coordinator Brian Ward prefers bigger defensive backs, which is part of the reason he and the rest of the staff pursued Moore in the first place.
All three new transfers will have a chance to play a lot this season. But when it comes down to which player will have the biggest impact, it’s hard not to say De’Jon Wilson. He’s got the clearest path to the field, and the position with the most dire need for an influx of experience. And looking at the poll on Twitter, it seems that he’s the popular choice among Syracuse fans, as well.
Which SU football transfer will have the biggest impact this season?
— OttosGrove.com (@OttosGrove) August 3, 2016