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Syracuse football alum Ifeatu Melifonwu shines in Lions’ Divisional Round win

While the lights were brightest, Iffy was unfazed and continued his breakout season.

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

We're still about two months from the start of Syracuse Orange spring football camp, one 'Cuse alum is making a huge impact in the NFL Playoffs.

2021 third round draft pick Ifeatu Melifonwu has stepped up in the Detroit Lions secondary. During Sunday's divisional game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Iffy was tied for a team-best nine tackles (six solo), matching a career high.

He also had 1.5 sacks in the Lions' victory, putting him in some very elite company among SU grads:

Ifeatu took some time to develop into an NFL-caliber safety, but the jump in year three has been remarkable. After playing in a combined 17 games his first two seasons, Melifonwu has not missed a single one in 2023-24.

Between all 17 regular season games and a pair of postseason wins, Ifeatu has racked up 45 tackles, 4.5 sacks, eight pass deflections, two picks, and a forced fumble. Now, the Lions need another strong performance from Iffy as they enter enemy territory in Santa Clara. Win, and they punch a ticket to their first ever Super Bowl appearance.

With history on the line, we’ll be turning our eyes towards this man’s spot in the Detroit secondary. The Bills’ own playoff run came to an end against KC, so I encourage other CNYers to also turn their support to Mo-town. It will do wonders for the current football program to show that it is capable of producing future pro stars.