Position Preview: Special Teams

A look at the special teams unit for Syracuse football entering the 2015 season

Returning Starters: Riley Dixon, Cole Murphy

Projected Starters: Riley Dixon, Cole Murphy, Matt Keller, Brisly Estime, Ervin Philips

Top Reserves: Ryan Norton, Keith Mitsuuchi

Biggest Question Mark: Can the return game make some plays? Outside of Brisly Estime’s punt return in the 2013 Texas Bowl, the return game for Syracuse has left a lot to be desired in recent years. Estime’s return and Ervin Philips’ emergence should help change that. If they do, it could give Syracuse a weapon they have not had in some time.

Most Important Player: Brisly Estime – Estime has to stay healthy this season. If he does, not only can he be a big contributor on offense, but he can help impact games as a punt and kickoff returner. He has the speed, elusiveness and vision to be a dynamic threat in that area.

Outlook for 2015 Season: There is optimism surrounding Syracuse special teams entering the year. Not only because of Riley Dixon’s and Cole Murphy’s consistency, but because of the return game potential. With their punter and kicker, Syracuse boasts two solid players, including Dixon who is among the ACC’s best.

What will constitute a successful season for this position group: A successful season will be Dixon and Murphy continuing their steady play as well as Estime and Philips realizing their potential as returners. Combine that with Matt Keller replacing Sam Rodgers as long snapper without any fanfare and you have a strong 2015 for the Orange special teams unit.

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