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Syracuse’s Steve Ishmael named third-team AP All-American

Not a bad way to cap off a career for the record-setting senior.

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NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive season, a Syracuse Orange wide receiver has received Associated Press All-American honors.

Steve Ishmael was named to the third-team on Monday, following a season in which he caught (a school record) 105 passes for 1,347 yards and seven touchdowns. He joins Amba Etta-Tawo (also third-team) as the other recent Orange player to get the All-American nod under Dino Babers.

Along with Ishmael, Mississippi State’s A.J. Brown (75 receptions, 1,252 yards, 11 touchdowns) was also on the third-team. David Sills (West Virginia) and Michael Gallup (Colorado State) made the second-team, while James Washington (Oklahoma State) and Anthony Miller (Memphis) were first-teamers.

For as much as we may want to push for Ishmael to be on the first- (or even the second-) team, the numbers are pretty close. A look at the players, side-by-side:

  • James Washington, Oklahoma State (69 receptions, 1,423 yards, 12 touchdowns)
  • Anthony Miller, Memphis (92 receptions, 1,407 yards, 17 touchdowns)
  • David Sills, West Virginia (60 receptions, 980 yards, 18 touchdowns)
  • Michael Gallup, Colorado State (94 receptions, 1,345 yards, 7 touchdowns)
  • Steve Ishmael, Syracuse (105 receptions, 1,347 yards, 7 touchdowns)
  • A.J. Brown Mississippi State (75 receptions, 1,252 yards, 11 touchdowns)

Of the six players chosen, Ishmael was first in receptions, third in yards and tied for fifth in touchdowns. It would seem that touchdowns was the key metric here. Also not sure what pushed Gallup above Ishmael with nine fewer catches and two fewer yards (and same TDs).

For as impressive as Sills’s touchdown total is, he didn’t even hit the 1,000-yard mark. At least Miller (with one fewer score) did and then some.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

So sure, he could (and should) probably be a second-teamer, but that doesn’t take away from the honor as-is. The AP All-American list adds to a growing list for Ishmael this year, including Walter Camp All-America (second-team), SB Nation All-America, All-ACC, and AP All-ACC.

One potential fix for situations like this and Etta-Tawo’s last year is just to get more hype from writers and voters. Every year, I get preseason press materials on certain players as a member of the Football Writers’ Association of America (FWAA). During the season, those PR departments hit me and everyone else with emails pushing the accomplishments of their programs’ respective players and campaigning for votes.

Syracuse hasn’t been one of them.

Rather than criticize the school, I’d rather just use this as a lesson going forward. A small email push to get some voters behind your players can help enormously. We have players worthy of national attention. An email awareness campaign is super simple and they can use visual assets already developed for social media anyway.


Still, congrats to Steve on a great career and a great season.