Post-Spring Depth Chart
OUTSIDE WR 1
OUTSIDE WR 2
SLOT WR 1
SLOT WR 2
A key position within the Dino Babers offense is wide receiver. He frequently uses four wide receiver sets, giving several players the opportunity to make plays. Even with an offense that struggled at times last season, there is some talent at wide receiver.
It starts with Steve Ishmael, who lead the team in receptions (39), yards (570) and touchdowns (7) last season. Ishmael is a legit number one wide receiver in the ACC. He runs solid routes, has great hands and works as hard at his craft as anyone.
It his the year Ishmael eclipses the 1,000 yard mark? It may depend partially on the production around him. As the clearcut top receiving option, teams double him and shift coverage in his direction. Brisly Estime, with his elite speed, could become a big time playmaker in this offense.
Getting him the ball quickly in space should allow him a lot of opportunities to turn short throws into big gains. Similarly, Ervin Philips has the ability to make defenders miss and gain extra yardage. His issue last season, however, was route running and catching down the field.
With an entire offseason focused on being a wide receiver, Philips could take a step towards more consistency. Should he achieve that, he could also become a dangerous weapon for the Orange. That gives Syracuse three legitimate wide receivers who can hurt opponents.
Need for Depth
Having those three wide receivers is all well and good, but Syracuse needs more depth to emerge in order to round out the group. Alvin Cornelius showed flashes during the spring, but he has done that in the past. Game day has been inconsistent for the senior wideout.
Jamal Custis and Adly Enoicy have only seen the field sparingly thus far in their careers. Both have big time size and are strong athletes. However, both possess average at best speed. It this the year either one can carve out a role? That is a big question entering training camp.
Behind them, players like Sean Avant, Tyrone Perkins and Kenterius Womack are battling for snaps this season.
One common theme within the group, outside of a couple of exceptions, is a lack of speed. Especially when compared to the rest of the ACC. That is something the staff is working to improve in recruiting.
True freshman Devin Butler has the type of speed the staff covets. But to expect him to be a major factor in year one may be asking too much. It will be tough for him to rise up the depth chart, but given his speed, does have an opportunity this fall.
One who could is Sean Riley, a speedy, electric athlete from California. The true freshman may be on the short side, but he is an elusive open field runner who can make plays in the slot or in the return game. Yes Estime and Philips will take the bulk of the snaps there, but Riley's speed may force him onto the field in certain packages.
A real interesting player to watch is Amba Etta-Tawo, a graduate transfer from Maryland. He has struggled with consistency catching the ball with the Terps, leading to his lack of consistent playing time. However, Etta-Tawo is an elite speedster who brings much needed explosiveness to the receiving corps.
Expect the post training depth chart to largely mirror the post spring depth chart. However, Etta-Tawo will emerge as the outside receiver opposite Ishmael due to his speed. That gives Syracuse four wide receivers with playmaking ability.
The depth behind them will be a question mark, but could make plays in reserve roles. The ability to have Estime, Philips, Ishmael and Etta-Tawo on the field at the same time gives Syracuse quality speed at wide receiver.