One of the primary candidates to have a big year in 2013 for the Syracuse Orange is defensive back Julian Whigham. His play during camp has earned the praise of head coach Scott Shafer as a player that can be productive all over the defensive backfield.
"I like that the coaches think I'm versatile," Whigham said. "I'm able to make a lot of plays all across the field and move all over the formation. It's a lot of fun."
Whigham is one of several members of the secondary from South Florida. He says the group discusses that privately, and is excited about the challenge ahead in their new conference.
"I think secondary players are the best athletes on the field," Whigham said. "Us all being from Florida, we feel like we're up there talent wise. And we're excited that the secondary, for the most part, is all south Florida guys."
Not lacking confidence, the true sophomore believes the Syracuse defense has the players in place to surprise in 2013.
"I think we can be a top defense in the ACC right off the bat," Whigham said. "We have a lot of talent all across the board. The defensive line is solid, the linebacking core is great, and our secondary is really deep, as everybody knows. Going into the season, we should be just fine."
Whigham also stood out in camp under the previous coaching staff. He was able to get onto the field last season, and he believes that benefits him this year.
"It just boosts your confidence knowing that the coaches have faith in you," Whigham said. "Coming into this year, you have a feel for what's coming at you. So it's easier to make plays."
Two seasons, two coaching staffs for Julian Whigham. While he liked the system last year, he believes this season's scheme has more potential.
"This year we're a lot more multiple," Whigham said. "Offenses definitely won't know what's coming at them this year and I like that. It has a new feel to it. We'll be bringing a lot of different things that offenses won't be able to handle."
Going against the receivers every day in practice, Whigham has a unique perspective. While there are a lot of questions marks about that group heading into the season opener, Whigham says to keep an eye on someone who could be in for a big year.
"We got this guy 22 (Adrian Flemming)," Whigham said. "He's going to be a playmaker this year. I advise defenses to really watch him because he's going to do big things."
Whigham is ready to go, as is the rest of the Syracuse defense. They believe greatness is in store for the Orange in the upcoming season.
"We've been marking the days down since day one," Whigham said. "We're too excited to start our first game. Penn State, MetLife Stadium, it's overwhelming. We're going to come out hyped and ready to play."