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AJ Calabro and the story of his father headline Syracuse stories ahead of Rutgers game (LINKS)

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The Orange defensive back lost his father during 9/11 and is a captain for Saturday’s game

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Just a day away from the Syracuse Orange kicking off against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on September 11, there are play of stories about the game. Most of all, it was worth shining a spotlight on this first one below, from Syracuse.com’s Nate Mink, about AJ Calabro — who lost his father on September 11, 2001.

That’s worth a read, along with the rest of today’s links below:

Syracuse football player will suit up on 9/11, carrying his father’s story and honoring the man who raised him (Syracuse.com)

His grandfather stepped in and helped raise him and his older brother, becoming the vessel through which their father’s story was told when nobody in the family wanted to talk about it. “He’s the most important person to ever come through in my life,” AJ said of his grandfather. “He dropped everything going on in his life and made sure he was a father figure in our life. He felt he never wanted my father’s name to die either, so I respect him greatly for that and everything he did for us because he didn’t need to do half of what he did for us.”

Max Mang, the ‘Berlin Bear,’ is the latest member of Syracuse football’s tight end ‘Animal Kingdom’ (Syracuse.com)

Without Elmore, Mang, a 6-foot-7 and 265-pound second-year freshman, served as a key blocker for the Orange against Ohio, seeing the most action in his college career and helping the Orange churn out yardage in the ground game. “He’s growing,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “He’s not tailor-made yet. He won’t get mad at me saying that. He’s learning the game. He’s an international player. He works really hard at his craft, and he’s a tough guy. Don’t go kick sand on this guy at the beach. You won’t like the outcome. He’s a tough guy.”

Syracuse guard Joe Girard is slimmed down and ready for the season (Syracuse.com)

Girard said the extra pounds might not have been a problem if he had been able to maintain proper conditioning during those summer months. “We did a lot of running, but it wasn’t the same as playing,’’ Girard said. “You have to play basketball to be in basketball shape. I think the biggest thing was my conditioning. “Being in basketball shape is different than being football shape or cross country shape.’’

JJ Starling Set to Begin Syracuse Official Visit (All Syracuse)

As Syracuse looks to make another strong impression and convince him that staying home is the right decision, the visit went rather well. “It was great,” Starling said after his June official visit to Syracuse. “Being from Cuse, you kind of take everything for granted. But being on campus and around the players and coaches, it was a different feel that I didn’t expect to have. It was a really, really great visit. The facility is nice. All that.”

Rutgers football’s defense is establishing an important identity. Here’s a look at how (Courier-Post)

Dino Babers talks significance of playing Rutgers on 9/11: It’s humbling and an honor (Syracuse.com)

Syracuse women’s ice hockey announces 2021-22 schedule (Daily Orange)

Former All-American Kenzie Kent named SU women’s lacrosse assistant coach (Daily Orange)

Syair Torrence is taking a path different than his big brother (Spectrum)

Syracuse legend Derrick Coleman has some interesting comments on Bernie Fine (TheComeback)

Downtown Syracuse basketball mural, vetoed by mayor in the spring, goes ahead with private funding (Syracuse.com)