When looking at how a team’s season may play out, one of the factors that most experts consider is returning veterans who have played well for that particular team. Syracuse has many of for the upcoming 2014 season.
It all starts with the quarterback and Terrel Hunt returns after taking over in the third game last season. Hunt rallied Syracuse to become bowl eligible and grew substantially throughout the year. After a strong spring and better fall, Hunt is poised for a big season.
At the skill positions, Syracuse returns three of their top four running backs from a year ago and emerging Adonis Ameen-Moore who has contributed in the past. Fullback Clay Cleveland also returns as a strong lead blocker. At the wide receiver position, Jarrod West, Adrian Flemming, Ashton Broyld, Brisly Estime, Quinta Funderburk and Alvin Cornelius also return.
The tight end spot brings back Josh Parris and Kendall Moore. Along the offensive line, four of the five starters return in Sean Hickey, Rob Trudo, Nick Robinson and Ivan Foy. Key reserves Omari Palmer and Michael Lasker are also back.
Defensively, there is as much continuity. Along the defensive line, Micah Robinson, Robert Welsh and Eric Crume return as starters. Key reserves Ron Thompson and Isaiah Johnson will contribute as well.
Linebackers Cameron Lynch, Dyshawn Davis and Marqez Hodge are back along with Josh Kirkland, Luke Arciniega and Oliver Vigille. The secondary is full of returning contributors. Safeties Durell Eskridge, Darius Kelly and Ritchy Desir join corners Brandon Reddish, Julian Whigham and Wayne Morgan give Syracuse a lot of experience in the defensive backfield.
In total, the Syracuse starting offense features six seniors and three juniors. Defensively, the Orange start seven seniors and two juniors. That is a lot of experience coming back for a team that continued to improve over the last several seasons.
In fact, Syracuse returns 11 offensive players that started a game last season and 10 such players defensively.
Mixing experienced veterans who have been significant contributors with talented youth who are continuing to develop gives the Orange a strong recipe for success entering the 2014 season.