Marcus Sales was supposed to be Syracuse's No. 1 receiver this season.
That is, if you're working off of historical statistics. Heading into this season, no returning Syracuse receiver had more catches (42) and more yards (484) and more TDs (4). And yet, when the depth charts emerged, Marcus Sales wasn't just low...he wasn't even on them.
We never really got a strong explanation for why SU's top guy was suddenly receiver non grata, other than thinly-veiled comments about Sales' need to prepare better and work harder at practice. In the meantime, Sales has watched from the sidelines while Van Chew, Alec Lemon and others have put up the stats we expected from him when he came to SU.
When we first heard Sales was un-depth-chartable, I feared that his name would soon be added to Those We Do Not Name, the many players who have left the program over the last two years. It wouldn't have been hard to imagine. To his credit, Sales stuck with it. And against South Florida, his perseverance paid off.
It was Sales, not Chew, Lemon or Cody Morgan, that caught the game-winning touchdown to lock down the victory on Saturday.
One catch. Three yards. One touchdown. That's the only thing Marcus Sales has on his stat sheet this season. Sales also had a key block to open up a big reception for Van Chew worth noting. Considering how he began the year, perhaps that's just fine. Sales even said as much after the game:
"It felt real good. When your number is called, you just gotta make a play....whatever I can do to help the team, that's what my job is."
On how he took the demotion at the beginning of the year and how frustrated he was with the decision:
"It wasn't really frustration. I mean, I took it as a positive thing. My number was called today and I just made a play when my number was called."
Good to have you back, Marcus.