Position Preview: Defensive Backs

A look at the defensive backs for Syracuse football entering the 2015 season.

Returning Starters: Julian Whigham and Antwan Cordy
*Cordy only started one game last season.

Projected Starters: Julian Whigham (CB), Antwan Cordy (SS), Rodney Williams FS) and Corey Winfield (CB)

Top Reserves: Cordell Hudson, Juwan Dowels, Kielan Whitner, Chauncy Scissum and Wayne Morgan

Biggest Question Mark: The biggest question mark for the SU secondary is just that, the entire group. Aside from senior Julian Whigham, the Orange has very little experience against the pass. Between Whigham (11) and Cordy (1), returning players started a total of 12 games last season. Wayne Morgan is coming off a season ending injury in 2014, limiting him to only three games played. This is a big issue for Syracuse, which features, three redshirt freshmen, one true freshman and a sophomore in the group as well. It is going to take a huge jump in confidence and improvement over the weeks ahead to see what this group is made of. Last season, only Whigham recorded an interception, so it is clear this group lacks quality experience. Chauncy Scissum played mostly on special teams in his first season as well.

Most Important Player: The three players with the most experience in the unit will all combine for the most important player. Whigham is the obvious choice considering the amount of games played last year, but with Cordy moving from cornerback to strong safety, it is imperative that he picks up the nuances of the position early. Wayne Morgan must also bounce back from his injury shortened season in 2014, and return to form from 2013 when he had 16 tackles. Each of these three must combine as one, a la Transformers, if they are to make the secondary strong for the Orange.

Outlook for 2015 Season at Defensive Back: Again, so many question marks remain for this group. Considering that Syracuse gave up at least 160 yards in the passing game last season, there is a lot to be desired behind the line and linebackers. But, you can only go up from here, and sometimes building the position with youth can pay off in the long run. Obviously there is inexperience throughout the position, but you can only get quality experience in game reps and that is what this group will have to do. It will take strong leadership from Julian Whigham and Wayne Morgan as the elder statesmen in this unit to help bring along the diaper dandies that are working with them! What will constitute a successful season for this position group: Statistics may not be way to measure the secondary this season. You would like to see around five to seven interceptions at least and maybe a sack or two depending on defensive schemes. But, more importantly growth at each position each game is what this group will need to be viewed successful. Sometimes when other members of the defense make plays, it allows the defensive backs to get greedy and gamble. These choices may pan out, and this could lead to a breakout year for a younger core of players looking to create their own “islands of defense” when the ball is thrown their way.

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