Since the NFL Draft, a common theme that has started to build around the Syracuse Orange is the notion of “Defensive Back U.” After Andre Cisco and Ifeatue Melifonwu were taken in the third round, people are starting to notice that SU is building and developing strong talent in the secondary. With Cisco, Melifonwu, and Trill Williams no longer on the roster, the Orange need new faces to step up in their places.
While we have no idea what the depth chart looks like after spring practice, a name in the secondary that continues to pop up among coaches and fans is Darien “Duce” Chestnut. Syracuse’s highest rated recruit in the class of 2021 has already made his presence known on the practice field, and there’s a strong chance that he plays significant minutes in the young secondary.
Others outside of the program are noticing Chestnut’s potential as well, as 247sports’ Chris Hummer lists the Orange DB as one of his 100 true freshmen who will impact the 2021 college football season.
“The Orange are going to be young in the secondary next year,” said Hummer. “So much so that CuseNation projects a freshman starter at every spot in 2021. That gives Chestnut, Syracuse’s highest-rated 2021 signee, a chance to vault into the rotation right away. Chestnut is a versatile cornerback who can play as many as four positions in the secondary thanks to his size and tackling ability, which allows him to play corner, nickel and even some safety.”
Hummer’s last line is the important problem that the Syracuse coaching staff needs to solve with Chestnut. He’s shown the ability to play at all positions in the secondary. Depending on the development of the other young players among the Orange defensive backs, Chestnut may need to be a swiss army knife to plug into the important secondary roles in the 3-3-5.
What do you guys think? How much of an impact can or will Chestnut have for Syracuse in 2021? Comment down below.