Even if Syracuse is unable to become bowl eligible this season, the Orange have found an offensive weapon for the future. True freshman wide receiver Steve Ishmael continues to turn heads with his stellar play.
In the loss to NC State on Saturday, Ishmael finished with five catches for 63-yards and a touchdown reception. But it is his big play ability that impresses time and time again.
On his touchdown catch in the third quarter that gave the Orange the lead, he ran a go-route down the sideline. Quarterback A.J. Long put some air under the ball to allow Ishmael to run under it, but it was thrown a little bit short and back towards the middle of the field.
”It was a simple pass,” Ishmael said. “I work on that almost every day with A.J. I give the glory to God for helping me score.”
Ishmael made a great adjustment, going around the corner to come back towards the ball and the middle of the field, snatched the ball out of the air and fell into the endzone. It may not have looked like much live, but that adjustment is difficult to make and he made it look quite easy.
”The chemistry is just getting better, we are growing as a unit,” Ishmael said. “(Receiver) Jarrod West is out there making big plays also. I feel like we are growing as a team, not just me and AJ, but with the other receivers as well.”
Ishmael is still improving as a route runner and is working on getting stronger, especially in his upper body. But his hands are excellent and he makes plays whenever he gets his hands on the ball. The future is certainly bright for the freshman wideout.
CuseNation.com spoke to Ishmael after the game: