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Syracuse football: Eight players named to All-ACC team

First-teamer Oronde Gadsden II leads the Orange postseason honorees

Purdue v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange football team is going bowling. Naturally, the Orange should have a lot of players to thank for giving the team an extra game for the first time since 2018. The ACC announced on Tuesday its All-ACC teams. Four Orange players were named to teams with four more receiving honorable mentions. The biggest reward was Oronde Gadsden II earning First-Team All-ACC honors.

Syracuse’s full list of All-ACC honorees include:

  • 1st team: Oronde Gadsden II
  • 2nd team: Sean Tucker, Matthew Bergeron
  • 3rd team: Mikel Jones
  • Honorable Mentions: Marlowe Wax, Duce Chestnut, Garrett Williams, Ja’Had Carter

Gadsden becomes the first Syracuse tight end to be named to an All-ACC team. Although he’s played more as a slot receiver, Gadsden still lit up the stat sheet in his second season with the Orange. The sophomore tallied 54 catches for 891 yards and six touchdowns. He had 515 more receiving yards than Devaughn Cooper in second place. Gadsden proved to be a matchup nightmare and made great decisions with routes and open space running to give the Orange a scary receiving threat.

Tucker may have not recreated the same season he had last year where he was a First-Team All-ACC pick, but the Syracuse running back still put up an exceptional season. He ran for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per game. Tucker also helped in the Orange’s passing game, catching 16 more balls than last season. ESPN’s Todd McShay and Jordan Reid have Tucker as the fifth-best running back in their NFL draft position rankings.

Bergeron continues to shoot up draft boards as one of the highest rated tackles available to NFL teams. He finished the year as Syracuse’s highest rated offensive lineman by Pro Football Focus with a 75.6 overall grade and a sky-high 82.2 pass block grade. Both of those numbers are good for 7th among all ACC offensive linemen. Bergeron is currently the fifth best offensive tackle for the NFL draft according to ESPN’s Matt Miller.

Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

Jones returned for one more season with the Orange and immediately made his presence known as the leader of the Syracuse Mob defense. If he didn’t get injured in Syracuse’s penultimate game of the season, he’d probably lead the Orange defense in most statistical categories. Jones continued to wreck havoc in the middle of the field with seven tackles for loss, four sacks and five QB hits. He looks like a prime candidate to play on Sundays.

Wax’s ascension up the depth chart since his time at Syracuse culminated with a career-season that is putting him on the map. He led the Orange with 89 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss, adding in 4.5 sacks as well. Wax took advantage of being an edge rusher in the 3-3-5 defense to become an unhinged edge rusher that is tough to block.

Chestnut didn’t see many challenges in his second season with the Orange as many teams avoid throwing his way after a third-team All-ACC campaign his freshman year. He got tested more later in the season after Willams’ injury but still did a serviceable job. Chestnut didn’t put up the same numbers he did last season but proved to be a headache to challenge.

Wagner v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

Williams joined Jones as returners who wanted to have one more go with the Orange. Injuries limited Williams’ season, but he returned to the form that he flashed during his breakout 2020 campaign. It took exceptional athletes to beat Williams, who didn’t get beat often. He’s another candidate to play on Sundays.

Carter is another Mob player who had a breakout season for the Orange. He led the Orange with three interceptions and three pass breakups. Carter became a key reason why team were scared to challenge the Syracuse defense over the middle on deep passes. He provided great stability at safety and looks to be a key lynchpin for the Orange defense next season.

This marks the sixth season that at least four Orange players made it to at least the Third-Team All-ACC. Syracuse finished with a 7-5 record and awaits its bowl destination.