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Syracuse football: Andre Szmyt returns for another ride

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The former walk-on developed into one of the best kickers in program history

NCAA Football: Albany at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

On Senior Day last year, it seemed that the Syracuse Orange were losing one of the team’s staples over the last four years. Longtime kicker Andre Szmyt had announced he would not be returning to the team for a fifth season. However, Szmyt changed his mind in the offseason and decided to stay on as a Redshirt Senior.

“I kind of knew where I stood in the eyes of NFL scouts,” Szmyt said during spring training camp. “It’s not ideally what I wanted, and I know what I can achieve, so I decided I’m going to come back for another round.”

Szmyt holds several SU records, including most overall points by a kicker (348), number of field goals made (65), and highest field goal percentage (.823). The remarkable thing is that he didn’t even come to Syracuse on a scholarship - that came later during his freshman season. In 2018, Szmyt took the nation by storm, drilling 30 FGs and taking home the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker. Those 30 kicks were the most in Orange history and the second most in D1 FBS football, trailing Billy Bennett by only one.

The unanimous first-team All American kept up production for the team the next two seasons, but he had a massive drop off last year, going only 9-14 on FG tries.

“(I want) to go back to the basics, back to what I did in my freshman year,” Szmyt said “It’s just kind of like hitting the restart button.”

Despite his struggles, Szmyt still came through during a clutch moment last year, drilling a walk-off FG against Liberty. Additionally, he is still consistent from up close, splitting the uprights 44-48 times when inside 40 yards.

A rebound from Number 91 would go a long way towards a successful season for Dino Babers and his team.