A belated congratulations once again to Riley Dixon, Syracuse Orange punter extraordinaire and Heisman Trophy winner, regardless of what The Media says.
We've spent the last two seasons channeling a lot of their frustrations, hopes, pains, fears and dreams into the success of our punter. It's kinda what we do. Back in the Greg Robinson and early Doug Marrone days when winning was a luxury item, we had to find joy somewhere and we found it in Rob Long. After that we reveled in the one-year wonder that was Ryan Lichtenstein. After that was Das Boot himself, Ross Krautman. Then, a red-haired walk-on from CBA punted, hurdled, passed and punched his way into our hearts.
When the football team is down, we can usually count on a kicker or punter to lift our spirits just as they lift footballs into the air. Riley was different because, even if the #DixonForHeisman campaign started facetiously, he kinda backed it up. Maybe not actually as a Heisman candidate, but as a multi-dimensional athlete who was involved in some of the most exciting plays of the year. Not bad for a local guy who didn't even have a scholarship when he got here.
Hopes are high that 2016 will be better than 2015 so hopefully we'll be able to spread or joy and love around to multiple players. But if the Orange sputter and we find ourselves depressed in a losing spiral once more, we're going to need someone to latch on to. Someone to find hope in.
Perhaps it will be one of these Heisman hopefuls...
Sterling Hofrichter - First of all, he's got the kind of name we can build memes and catchphrases around. Second of all, he's almost certainly going to be the Dixon's heir apparent. It's his job to lose. But does he have an arm, too? Can we count on him to handle some fakes? Remains to be seen.
Cole Murphy - Cooooooooooole is pretty entrenched as the starting placekicker and so far he doesn't have too many "Riley Dixon-esque" moments he can claim. It's possible that he's just going to be a dependable kicker who gets better and ends up winning more games for us. How boring.
Ryan Norton - NorTONNNNNN! Syracuse Football's Kicking Bad Boy will return for one more year as our kickoff specialist who also takes long-range field goals. It could be quite the vindication and turnaround if Norton could break out some fun moments and maybe even chug a Bud Light at midfield after kicking a game-winner. We can dream.
Zack Mahoney - The wild card in all of this. Officer Mahoney's tale is already legend around here. He'll probably never play quarterback for the Orange again but he might be the perfect guy to hold kicks and potentially run fakes. We know he can throw touchdowns and he's got big-time experience under his belt. Plus, he's so god-damn easy to root for.