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Syracuse Orange Training Camp Position Preview: Special Teams

CuseNation.com breaks down the Syracuse special teams heading into training camp.

The Syracuse Orange football team starts their first training camp under head coach Dino Babers. Heading into camp, the secondary is looking to improve from a poor 2015.

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Secondary

Post-Spring Depth Chart

KICKER

Starter: Cole Murphy 
Backup: Alex Grossman          

PUNTER

Starter: Sterling Hofrichter                        

LONG SNAPPER             

Starter: Matt Keller  
Backup: Nathan Hines                        

HOLDER             

Starter: Zachary Mahoney  
Backup: Sterling Hofrichter   

KICK/PUNT RETURNER             

Starter: Brisly Estime       

Known Quantities

Syracuse's special teams actually features a lot of returning players. Cole Murphy is back as the kicker. He is a solid, fairly accurate place kicker with decent power in his leg. Murphy had a good year in 2015 and is looking to build upon that in 2016.

As a kick returner, Brisly Estime is back. He was an exciting, electric returner last season who can take one to the house at any time. Should he stay healthy, he has a chance to become one of the best returners in Syracuse history. Estime is a big special teams weapon for the Orange. 

If Estime goes out, who steps in? That is a big question. True freshmen such as Moe Neal and Sean Riley may be the best bets. 

Time to Step Up

Syracuse has the task of replacing three special teams starters that the Orange need to step up for this unit to build on a successful 2015. It starts with the punter position. Gone is Riley Dixon, leaving some pretty big shoes to fill.

Enter redshirt freshman Sterling Hofrichter. Hofrichter is a bit of an unknown at the division one level. Sure we've seen him in practice and pre-game, but never in a game situation. On paper, he has a strong and accurate leg. The field position battle is critical, and Hofrichter will have a big impact on that. 

Syracuse is also replacing their long snapper, with a sophomore taking the reigns. Matt Keller is ready to step in. He came into Syracuse with a lot of high school accolades, and should fill in nicely. 

The holder position is also replacing Riley Dixon. Backup quarterback Zack Mahoney was the backup holder last season and is ready to take over this year. He was solid in practice last season and was again in the spring.

Coverage Units

There will likely be some turnover amongst the coverage units that performed well in 2015. Generally some true freshmen enter the mix with some veteran backups as well. 

Linebackers and defensive backs make up a large portion of this group. Due to the quality athletes that have been brought in over the last couple of recruiting classes, there is potential for this group to be good once again. 

Prediction

The Syracuse special teams units will be good this season. Estime should have a big year. Murphy will be solid, while Hofrichter will be as well. He won't be Riley Dixon, but should be capable. Don't expect any changes in the depth chart after training camp. 


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