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Syracuse football: Projected statistical leaders for the 2021 season

Which names are you going to be hearing the most this fall?

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a couple years since we’ve been thrilled with the Syracuse Orange’s on-field performance. But hope should spring eternal each season, no? And with a lot of returning faces on the 2021 roster, there’s a chance that consistency could lead to better performances — especially on the offensive side of the ball.

So before Syracuse kicks off against Ohio on Saturday, we wanted to try our hand at projecting statistical leaders for SU this year. Perhaps all of these will be dead-wrong. Still, it’s worth a shot to figure out the key players this season, and which have a chance to put up big numbers based on their respective position group situations (and which may not).

Total Passing Yards: ~3,000 yards

  • Tommy DeVito (80%)
  • Garrett Shrader (20%)

Between potential special packages, pulling starters for various reasons and injury potential, Shrader is going to get opportunities even if DeVito’s the starter all year. Over the last two years, Syracuse has failed to hit 3,000 yards passing (and last year they failed to hit 2,000), but O-line improvement and a more coherent offense should hopefully yield some improvement through the air.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Total Rushing Yards: ~1,800 yards

  • Sean Tucker (55%)
  • Jarveon Howard (20%)
  • Cooper Lutz (12%)
  • Abdul Adams (8%)
  • Garrett Shrader (5%)

A lot is dependent on the offensive line here. But even without much of one (and some putrid play-calling) last year, Tucker still managed to amass over 600 yards. He could knock on the door of the 1,000-yard mark, while Howard is utilized as a change of pace. Lutz and Adams are admittedly tough to place, but will get carries. Shrader packages probably involve running the ball. There’s a chance Josh Hough winds up on this list as well.

Total Receiving Yards: ~3,000 yards

  • Taj Harris (30%)
  • Anthony Queeley (20%)
  • Sharod Johnson (15%)
  • Luke Benson (10%)
  • Courtney Jackson (7%)
  • Sean Tucker (5%)
  • Damien Alford (5%)
  • Trebor Pena (3%)
  • Oronde Gadsden (3%)
  • Cooper Lutz (2%)

The breakdown above gives Taj a 900-yard season — something that feels totally feasible when considering the fact that a) he’s now in the slot and should catch more passes by default and b) last year’s passing attack was abysmal and he still hit over 730.

Queeley and Johnson get their respective totals in bunches, from deeper routes, while admittedly it’s a whole lot of guesswork further down based mostly on the names currently on the two-deep depth chart.

Tackles for Loss: ~85

  • Stefon Thompson (15%)
  • McKinley Williams (10%)
  • Cody Roscoe (10%)
  • Marlowe Wax (10%)
  • Josh Black (10%)
  • Kingsley Jonathan (7%)
  • Ja’Had Carter (5%)
  • Rob Hanna (5%)
  • Mikel Jones (5%)
  • Geoff Cantin-Arku (5%)
  • Eric Coley (4%)
  • Garrett Williams (3%)
  • Duce Chestnut (3%)
  • Curtis Harper (2%)
  • Caleb Okechukwu (2%)
  • Leon Lowery (2%)
  • Ben Labrosse (2%)

If we assume that the defense is a bit more dynamic with a full offseason in the system and we’re getting another game compared to last year’s 70, then 85 seems like a reasonable figure.

There’s faith here that we’re getting more production up front, most importantly. But also bigger numbers from the linebackers. Based on the scheme and what we’ve seen so far from this group, it seems unlikely there’s going to be one player with HUGE numbers (the above gives Thompson about 13 TFLs. That’s still nearly double his 7.5 from last year, though.

Interceptions: ~15

  • Garrett Williams (25%)
  • Duce Chestnut (20%)
  • Mikel Jones (15%)
  • Ja’Had Carter (15%)
  • Eric Coley (15%)
  • Rob Hanna (10%)

Jones led the way last year with four picks, and could get close to that mark again. But Williams and Chestnut seem like the most likely players to flip the filed this season. Duce seems like he could spend year one playing some high-risk, high-reward football; which could be a really exciting addition especially without Andre Cisco in the lineup. Teams are also likely to test him early, since Williams already has a reputation as a lockdown corner.


Those seemed like the big categories worth breaking down, but perhaps you’re interested in others as well. Want to take your own guesses? Make some picks below.