Honoring Seniors & Freshmen Alike

via media.syracuse.com

12-34

That's the W-L record the graduating four-year seniors on the Syracuse football team.  If they're a fifth-year senior, that record balloons to 13-44.  Not exactly the record of excellence, or even mediocrity, they were expecting when they decided to play football at Syracuse.  By all accounts, folks expect Syracuse to improve over the next few years.  That means that this class and the one that preceded it will be intrinsically linked with SU's point in the modern era.  Sorry about that, guys.

Assuming they are four-year players, they will have never beaten Pittsburgh, West Virginia, South Florida or Cincinnati.  A loss this weekend will add Rutgers to that list as well.  If these guys needed any extra incentive to play, the threat of being a class that never defeated Rutgers should be extremely present in their minds as they practice.

As far as who will be honored this weekend, it's slightly unclear exactly who should actually be honored and who shouldn't.  The folks who will hear their names called include:

Ryan Bartholomew, Tucker Baumbach, Cam Dantley, Donte Davis, Arthur Jones, Max Leo, Lavar Lobdell, Jim McKenzie, Mike Owen, Greg Paulus, Dalton Phillips, Andrew Robinson, Nico Scott, Derrell Smith and Mike Stenclik

Now, six of those players have another year of eligibility (a confusing situation that stems from Coach Marrone's decision to switch the designation from actual year rather than eligibility year).

And then there's Delone Carter, Anthony Perkins and Andrew Lewis, all of whom are listed as seniors but will not walk as they have another year of eligibility as well.

Whatever, as long as everyone actually makes it to the game without getting injured, they can be whatever they want.

It's not just about the seniors on Saturday.  It's also a time to look to the future of Syracuse football.  A future that looks bright when you notice two freshmen who have stepped up their game so much, so fast.  The Thomases...Philip and SHAMARKO.

Both Thomases started for Syracuse last week in the Orange’s 10-9 Big East Conference loss at Louisville. Shamarko Thomas started at strong safety. Phillip Thomas started at cornerback.

Injuries played a part in their quick ascension but both have played as well as true freshmen defensive backs can be asked to play.  Besides, we shouldn't be surprised.  They certainly weren't.

"I’m a hard worker," said Shamarko Thomas. "I push. I push hard. I’m fast. I come to deliver hits and I’m a play-maker."

"I feel like a sophomore or even better," said Phillip Thomas. "I’ve gotten more playing time as a freshman. I feel like I’ve graduated from a freshman."

SHAMARKO comes to deliver hits.  He leaves having delivered them.

Syracuse football is in rough shape.  The graduating seniors had about as tough a situation as one could walk into in college.  But they leave the groundwork for The Thomases, the other freshmen and the incoming players to build in. 

"All the freshmen, we’re tight," said Phillip Thomas. "This program is going to be better. We’re going to have more winning seasons and be in bowl contention."

"This freshman class and the other freshmen that are coming in, we’re going to change the whole program," said Shamarko Thomas. "We’re going to start winning more games."

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