Syracuse Orange players continue to make their decisions on whether to stay with the program or seek new ground elsewhere. Another senior has made the decision to enter the transfer portal on Wednesday morning. Rivals reported that senior wide receiver Nykeim Johnson has entered the portal.
2017 3-star WR Nykeim Johnson has entered the portal as a grad transfer after totaling 88 rec for 1,055 yards and 8 TD at #GoOrange; also returned kickoffs and punts @rivalsmike @RivalsWoody @SUonRivals https://t.co/Ie7caouviI— NCAA Transfer Portal (@RivalsPortal) December 23, 2020
Johnson finishes his Syracuse career with 1,055 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns. He never quite managed to replicate his strong sophomore campaign where he recorded 565 receiving yards and four touchdowns during Syracuse’s 10-win season. Johnson did make the All-ACC second team this year, however, as a specialist after recording 564 yards on 29 kick and punt returns this season.
Johnson becomes the second senior to enter the transfer portal as a grad transfer alongside tight end Aaron Hackett. Underclassmen Cooper Dawson, Cameron Jordan (previously left the program), Cam Jonas, Jason Muñoz and Markenzy Pierre also entered the portal earlier this year. Seniors Airon Servais, Kingsley Jonathan, and Josh Black have announced they’ll use their extra year of eligibility at Syracuse. The remaining seniors — who won’t count against scholarship limits — are expected to announce their decisions after the holidays.
Syracuse still has plenty of bodies at wide receiver, although it will be hard for Dino Babers to find a player capable of replicating Johnson’s production at the inside receiver spot. Given his impact in the slot during the latter half of the season, Taj Harris could realistically slide over to that position, which would leave the coaching staff to find someone to takeover as the primary outside wide receiver. SU currently has young players with the size for the role, though not the experience.
Replacing Johnson as a returner is less stressful, as Trebor Pena already proved that he can be dynamic on kick returns with a touchdown against NC State. Babers will need to find someone to return punts as Johnson was the only Orange player to attempt a punt return.
Best of luck to Nykeim in the future.