Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker exploded onto the national stage last fall but as the Orange struggled he lost opportunities to remain in the Heisman or Doak Walker finalists lists. Tucker was among the players listed as underrated by 247 Sports and while it’s hard for Syracuse fans to believe that after his school-record setting performance it’s the reality he faces.
This is likely to be Tucker’s final season in Syracuse so is it actually possible for him to carry the ball less but get more recognition? I say absolutely yes. If the Orange can get production from their passing game and their back-ups, Tucker won’t have to shoulder such a heavy load. Last year Tucker had 246 carries and in November his yards per attempt dropped from to 5.1. Some of this was due to the competition over those three games and Syracuse falling behind but even a physical freak like Tucker can get worn down over time.
So we don’t know about the passing game yet but Syracuse could be healthier on the offensive line if Dakota Davis, Chris Bleich and Chris Elmore are around for a full season. The highlights from Wake show several runs where Elmore is clearing space for Tucker and the Boston College game featured Davis and Bleich working together to clear plenty of room for both Tucker and Garrett Shrader.
It’ll ultimately come down to winning games but if Syracuse can start fast then Tucker can find himself getting featured more often on national college football programs. If the Orange can hold up in November and keep their standout back healthy he can still put up numbers worthy of All-American consideration even with fewer carries. And if Tucker is “significantly faster” after a season of track as Dino Babers said he was this spring.....well that’s some bad news for the defensive staffs of the Orange’s 2022 opponents.