Syracuse athletics and Canada have always had a great relationship, especially in recent times. Some of the athletes that came from north of the border include Tyler Ennis, Oshae Brissett, and Justyn Knight. And while Canadian football players don’t immediately jump off the page, there are more on SU’s roster than you might think.
In fact, seven Canadians feature on the Orange 2020 team -- by far the most on any FBS roster. The next closest school is UConn with four Canadian players, followed by Penn State with three.
Offensive Lineman Matthew Bergeron made a good case last year as the most notable Canadian on the Syracuse squad.
He initially played in short-yardage situations before Ryan Alexander’s departure from the team. The Quebec native slotted into his spot on the line and became the first true freshman to start at tackle since 2002. Bergeron started the final five games of the season and was named to the Pro Football Focus All-Freshman second team.
Tyrell Richards hails from Ontario and received the 2019 Joe Szombathy Award as SU’s top special teams player. He also played occasionally on defense with four career sacks, including one in the 2018 Camping World Bowl versus West Virginia.
Patrick Davis could join Bergeron in the trenches for the 2020 season. The Quebec senior spent his first three seasons as a backup offensive lineman and a special teams blocker. Davis was listed as the starting left guard on the Orange’s 2020 spring depth chart. He looks to be fighting with Darius Tisdale for the starting spot vacated by Evan Adams’s graduation.
The other four Canadians look to make a big impact on Syracuse’s roster in 2020. Quebec sophomore Geoff Cantin-Arku played nine games on the kickoff team in 2019 and Quebec wide receiver Kevin Mital redshirted during his freshman season last year. Incoming freshmen Damien Alford and Ben Labrosse complete the seven Canadians set to wear Orange on the gridiron in 2020.
It’s also noteworthy that most of SU’s Canadian recruits are no pushovers either. Bergeron, Cantin-Arku, Davis, and Richards all ranked in the top four in ESPN’s respective Canadian class rankings.
Unfortunately, the Orange don’t possess the best Canadian college football player right now. That honor goes to Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard. The Alberta native earned numerous accolades in 2019, including a unanimous first-team All-American selection, the Big 12 offensive player of the year award, and an eighth place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Syracuse isn’t exactly the recruiting hotbed that we all would hope and like to be. However, you cannot deny that Dino Babers and his staff have searched every possible area of the football landscape to put together a solid football team. Our neighbors up north continue to send talented athletes to Syracuse, and the men on the gridiron continue to make their presence known.