There have been numerous surprises during the 2018 Syracuse Orange football season. But perhaps the biggest has been SU’s kicker, Andre Szmyt.
The one time walk-on was an unexpected (for fans) start in week one, and has since gone 40-of-40 on extra points, and 21-of-23 on field goals. If you feel like he came out of nowhere to earn the job, well... you’re right.
Syracuse.com’s Nate Mink had a great piece today talking about how Szmyt arrived at SU, how he learned from Cole Murphy and how the current special teamers (Nolan Cooney, Matt Keller, Aaron Bolinsky) have continued helping his development along.
Would read Mink’s article to get the full scoop from his recruitment (originally at Louisville) all the way to the scholarship he received from Dino Babers after the Pitt game. But as he potentially closes in on the FBS record for field goals in a season (31), it’s awesome to see how unlikely this all once appeared.
That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:
With repetition, Szmyt has found that sweet spot where the ball sounds more like a pop than a slap, like a golfer striking a clean iron shot. His form and power does not change regardless of distance -- teammates say he can touch 60 yards on distance -- and most of his makes have been center-cut rather than leaking through the uprights.
16. Syracuse: ... The Orange return everyone from last year’s team, most notably go-to scoring guard Tyus Battle. Oshae Brissett is a potential breakout candidate as an oversized wing scorer entering his sophomore season. Paschal Chukwu is a 7’1 shot blocker who will hold the zone together. Syracuse might not make it look pretty, but they always seem to get the job done.
College basketball’s top 100 players for 2018 (SB Nation)
23. Tyus Battle: Battle’s somewhat surprising decision to return to school last spring took Syracuse from likely ACC also-ran to preseason top 20 squad. Battle averaged 19.2 ppg last season and was on the court for 96.2 percent of Syracuse’s minutes, the highest percentage of any player in the country.
This is an interesting question for Battle, who maintains an incredible workout regimen. Last year the NBA combine, Battle’s body fat was a jaw-dropping 4 percent. (VIDEO)
The Orange have a terrific trio returning, led by Tyus Battle. But could it wind up that sophomore Oshae Brissett is the best player for Jim Boeheim’s team? Quite possibly. Guard Frank Howard will be the maestro. Syracuse is only narrowly ahead of St. John’s, which enters 2018-19 with more hype and expectation than we’ve seen for that program in the past 15 years.
Szmyt Named Groza Award Semifinalist (Cuse.com)
Countdown to Tipoff: Previewing Syracuse, Louisville, and Notre Dame (From the Rumble Seat)
Anonda Hoppner facilitating offense for Syracuse (Daily Orange)
Penalty corners are SU’s best chance to score (Daily Orange)