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Ifeatu Melifonwu could play critical role in elevating Syracuse secondary even more

Last year’s secondary showed signs of real improvement. The redshirt sophomore could help fuel even further growth.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 20 North Carolina at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Going into this season, a lot of the focus for the Syracuse Orange defense will be on the young linebacker group and how they come along quickly — especially against the run. However, one big change going into this year will be at cornerback, where Ifeatu Melifonwu appears poised to grab the starting spot opposite Christopher Fredrick. spoke to Dino Babers about as much this week, and it seems like SU’s pretty high on the redshirt sophomore corner — which makes sense since he managed to vault over senior Scoop Bradshaw on the depth chart. We first saw extended snaps from him mid-year last season, but an injury derailed things shortly thereafter. Both Babers and Melifonwu discussed his recovery, and expectations for this year.

Should Melifonwu keep up the strong play we saw in spot minutes last year, that could be a huge boon to this secondary and make the whole group a monster for every non-Clemson team. Last year, teams were able to stay away from Fredrick to some extent. If Ifeatu’s operating on a similar level as him, however, opponents won’t have the same luxury anymore.

That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:

Syracuse football ‘really high’ on CB Ifeatu Melifonwu going into 2019 (

“Iffy’s done some things,” Babers said. “He’s one of our taller corners, he’s made some plays and he’s got really good ball skills. He comes from a fantastic bloodline with an awesome mom. She raised him the right way. We’ve got to get him out here and see more of him. We’re going to have to see how it all works out, but we’re really high on him right now.”

6 dark-horse College Football Playoff contenders in 2019 (USA Today)

No. 22 Syracuse: To win 10 or 11 games, they’ll be heavily reliant on their defense, which has eight starters returning. And they’ll need all the stops they can get as sophomore quarterback Tommy DeVito works on replacing Eric Dungey — who has the program record for career passing yards — as the starter.

Mandel’s Mailbag: Which team is most likely to fall out of the AP poll, and which will move in? (The Athletic)

Using Chris Vannini’s preseason 130 rankings, which next-highest rated foursome would you be more optimistic about going into this season: Oregon, Utah, Washington State and Stanford, or Virginia, Syracuse, Miami and Virginia Tech? I also calculated each league’s average team ranking: The Pac-12’s is 46.8, while the ACC’s is 50.9. And Chris is never wrong. So debate over.

10 things to know about the Carrier Dome renovations (Daily Orange)

The new roof is expected to have a 40-year lifespan, more than double its predecessor’s, and include less costs for maintenance. Inside, air conditioning and new bathrooms will bring it back up to modern standards. A new LED lighting system will turn on faster after power outages, and better Wi-Fi will also help make the gameday experience better, especially for students.

Syracuse football places two on preseason AP All-American team (AP)

Path to the Playoff: The key games every week of the 2019 college football season (The Athletic)

Predicting college football’s 2019-20 bowl games (Bleacher Report)

Girls basketball recruiting: Milwaukee King’s Khamya McNeal commits to Syracuse (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Tiana Mangakahia: The portrait of courage in a trying time (CNY Central)

Ex-Syracuse football recruit Robert Washington to play for Old Dominion, not Liberty (

Sun Bowl changes sponsor to Tony the Tiger (El Paso Times)