In less than a week, the Syracuse football team will close out the 2013 season against Minnesota in the Texas Bowl, with the hopes of securing a winning record. It will also be the final game for the team’s seniors, who have been an integral part of the turn around that has happened under Doug Marrone and Scott Shafer. These seniors are playing in their third bowl game and will be the first senior class to play in bowl games in consecutive seasons since the 1990’s. It’s one of the most successful classes in recent memory and could ultimately be remembered as one of the most important, so let’s pay homage to each individual player in this year’s senior class and what they contributed to the Syracuse football program during their career.
Keon Lyn – Injuries kept him from having a great senior season and putting him position to get drafted next spring, but he was a starter for much of his sophomore and junior seasons and Lyn is one of the best cover corners that Syracuse has had in quite a few years; his presence will be missed next season.
Ri’Shard Anderson – A part of Marrone’s first draft class, Anderson played a lot of football over the past five years and made plenty of positive contributions, despite what most would call an up and down career.
Marquis Spruill – As a four-year starter and a team captain this season, Spruill has been one of the most important players to the Syracuse turnaround. He’s played all three linebacker positions and has made plays all over the field. Spruill will leave Syracuse with the second most tackles for a loss in program history, and he will leave big shoes to fill next season.
Charley Loeb – It sounds silly to say, but Charley will go down as one of the most memorable backup quarterbacks in school history. Before Marrone and company left, Nathanial Hackett was certain that he would take the baton from Ryan Nassib and run with it, but unfortunately things didn’t turn out that way. Nevertheless, Charley was a team player and could stay with the program next season as a grad assistant, which would be advantageous for both sides. His role as the holder on place kicks should not be overlooked either, as that’s a position where Charley will have to be replaced next year.
Christopher Clark – Clark spent just two years on the hill, but he had some memorable catches and helped provide depth to a wide receiver unit that needed as much help as it could get.
Joe Nassib – He’ll mostly be remembered as Ryan’s cousin, but Joe made plenty of appearances over the last three seasons on special teams and was also a useful player to have on the scout team.
Adrian Flemming – He may be able to get another year of eligibility after an injury kept him from having what could have been a productive 2013 season.
Jeremi Wilkes – He was never a star, but he was a productive and important member of the secondary all four years in Orange. Wilkes played in every single game over the past four seasons and made a number of key players over that time. He had an interception in Syracuse’s road win over South Florida in 2010, the first big win of the Marrone turnaround. In 2012, he forced a fumble that Dyshawn Davis returned for a touchdown against Pittsburgh, which was the most important play of that game and is arguably the play that turned the season around. Programs like Syracuse don’t get turned around without players like Wilkes, whose presence will be missed.
Steve Rene – Stepped in as the team’s punt returner as a true freshman, which is quite an accomplishment, even though he ultimately had trouble holding onto the job.
Clay Cleveland – He came to Syracuse as a walk-on and eventually became the team’s starting fullback this season and was a key blocker for the Orange’s rushing attack.
Ross Krautman – He may be eligible to come back next season after an injury held him out in 2013, and hurt his production in 2011 and 2012. However, as a freshman in 2010 he was one of the top kickers in the Big East: he made 16 straight field goals, which tied the great Gary Anderson for the school record, and he knocked in the game-winning field goal against Rutgers to clinch a bowl birth, and for that he deserves recognition.
Greg Tobias – Just two career carries, but an important member of the scout team at the running back position.
Zach McCarrell – Came to Syracuse as a preferred walk-on, and ended up seeing the field a lot on special teams.
Lewellyn Coker – He’s the kind of player you need in your program to make it work. Coker rarely played linebacker on defense, but he was a key performer on special teams all four years and provided a lot of big hits. He was also the fullback in 2012’s Tank Package and even caught a touchdown pass in the upset of Louisville last season. He leaves a big hole in all of Syracue’s special teams units.
Macky MacPherson – Macky was one of the most important players during the Marrone/Shafer turnaround. He’s started every game during the past three seasons and not only acted as the anchor of an offensive line that helped produce an effective rushing attack, but he’s also an incredibly smart player that recovered his teammate’s fumbles on multiple occasions, none more important than on the final drive of last month’s win over Boston College.
Zian Jones – A nice complementary interior linemen over the past two years, providing some much-needed size.
Beckett Wales – Despite a disappointing senior season, Wales has been an important contributor over the past four years, and his 35 catches in 2012 is the second most by a tight end in a single season in school history. He made significant contributions to the Orange in 2012, for which he should be remembered fondly.
Jay Bromley – What can you say about Bromley? If not for a high school all-star game in the Carrier Dome the summer after his senior season, the Orange may never have known about the player who would become one of their best defensive linemen of the past decade. Save for one game his freshman season, he’s played in every game over the past four years and has been a vital part of the defense. He’s been an absolute beast and a great leader on the field, leaving a cavernous hole to fill along the defensive line next season. Bromley has been one of the most important players Syracuse has had over the past four seasons and he can’t be praised enough for all that he’s done for the Orange.
Bryan Zarpentine covers Syracuse Orange football and basketball for ChatSports.com. You can follow him on twitter @BZarp and @ChatSyracuse. Also, add him to your network on Google, and keep up with Syracuse at ChatSports.com/Syracuse-Orange.Back to the Syracuse Orange Newsfeed