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Syracuse Football: ESPN Ranks Orange Wide Receivers Ninth in ACC


Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

As we've pointed out previously, ESPN's ACC Blog has been ranking each position group in the conference, post-spring practice. The latest was the wide receivers and tight ends.

The Syracuse Orange ranked ninth out of 14. Again, very subjective and it literally doesn't matter. But because we'll take any sort of offseason conversation we can get, it's worth diving in. Per the blog's Matt Fortuna:

9. Syracuse Orange -- Steve Ishmael, Brisly Estime and Alvin Cornelius are all experienced receivers, which will help in new coach Dino Babers' aerial attack. The production, however, has to get much better, as Ishmael’s 570 yards and seven touchdowns last season were by the far the best of the group. The versatile Ervin Philips had a team-high eight touchdowns last season, and he should provide a jolt now as a true receiver, rather than a hybrid rushing/receiving role. All five of Syracuse’s tight ends are fourth- or fifth-year players, albeit without much production aside from Josh Parris.

... yeah, that's pretty spot-on. The tight ends won't get much burn, as we figured. Ervin Philips, despite our own desires here to see him get more burn at running back, has the speed to excel as a full-time pass-catcher. And Steve Ishmael is going to be the star of the show for Dino Babers's passing attack. Considering the inconsistencies of last season's offense, it's amazing Ish even put up the numbers Fortuna points out above. With a competent attack that features his talents at receiver, it's nearly guaranteed that his numbers go way up.

The same goes for the entire position group, too. Orange receivers have struggled in the three years since Doug Marrone (and Ryan Nassib, Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales) departed. Despite Ismael's bright spots these past two seasons, the numbers still don't stack up to a truly elite group. That should change with the scheme shift. But you can't blame Fortuna (or anyone) for playing wait-and-see on that.


The full rankings:

  1. Clemson
  2. Florida State
  3. North Carolina
  4. Louisville
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Miami
  7. NC State
  8. Duke
  9. Syracuse
  10. Pitt
  11. Wake Forest
  12. Georgia Tech
  13. Virginia
  14. Boston College

When put into context, it seems about right. Maybe Syracuse can jump a couple teams in front of them (NC State and Duke, mostly) with some strong play. But even matching some high expectations, the ceiling is likely hanging around that seven-spot. That's fine, by the way. If anything, the largest concern above is that the Orange defensive backs need to go up against five of the current top-seven.


Agree? Disagree? Subjectively rank receivers (and tight ends) to your heart's content below.