Syracuse Football Spring Preview: The Secondary

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Orange defense was the stronger unit on last year's squad...but the secondary wasn't why. Here's what we should be on the lookout for this Spring and why things are already looking less than ideal.

Want to hear a funny story? Well too bad.

I started writing for Sean's blog my freshman year at SU after a stint as a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, a gig that wasn't all that bad. However, a source told me Justin Pugh was to miss all of Spring, Summer and Fall football workouts and wouldn't be healthy until conference play. I ran this in a Spring Football Preview for BR. It never made it to the site as BR did not allow "anonymous sources" in their posts. Thus I quit and begged Sean to give me a shot.

Why does this matter? You remember Durell Eskridge? He's probably Syracuse's best returning defensive weapon and safety who led the team in tackles (78) and interceptions (4). He's also out for the foreseeable future (aka Spring Ball) with lower body injuries ESPN lists as finger and hip surgeries. The hope is Eskridge will be back for the fall and it's needed.

The Orange aren't looking at a wasteland in the secondary but it's still a relatively young squad that struggled at times last year. The door is opening for several safeties to make an impact this Spring and be included in the regular season rotation. Darius Kelly and Ritchy Desir look to be the two most obvious. Desir, who had 47 tackles last season, will move into the vacated role at strong safety. Kelly is listed as a free safety but will probably be looked to as the third option in case of injury. Occupying that spot right now as "next man up" is Jaston George who saw snaps in games last season including the Texas Bowl.

The cornerback position received enough of it's own criticism last season as they were matched up against burners in the ACC Syracuse was frankly not used to matching up against. This year, that young group will expected to take a big step forward.

It starts with Senior Brandon Reddish who has played every year since he was a freshman. Reddish will be joined by junior Julian Wigham who came on strong at the end of last season and will be the key to Syracuse's secondary either stagnating or improving as a unit. Wayne Morgan will be moving back to corner after playing primarily safety last season and will presumably be the nickel back this year. (I'm not making any jokes that require linking music that would wreck my computer.) The player to watch out of all the secondary is sophomore Alex Shoen. He saw limited action last season but we all know it's only a matter of time before one of the guys ahead of him is hurt and Cuse will need the next man up.

Overall, the secondary doesn't have a whole lot of turnover outside of losing Keon Lyn. Most of the players vying for spots have seen enough snaps that we know they can play and continue to improve. It's just a question if anyone disrupts the perceived order. If an anonymous source gives me the scoop, I'm pretty sure Sean won't kick me off the blog. Right Sean...?

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