A nice way to cap off the year, despite the disappointing finish for the team.
We already knew several Syracuse Orange football players received all-conference honors on Tuesday, and while no one took home an individual award, a couple SU players received votes this year. The one that didn’t may also surprise.
While running back Sean Tucker wound up receiving no votes for the ACC’s player of the year and offensive player of the year honors (which both went to Pitt’s Kenny Pickett), Orange defensive standouts did get some love when it came to individual awards.
Linebacker Mikel Jones received two votes for ACC defensive player of the year, finishing fourth behind winner Jermaine Johnson of Florida State (53 votes), Clemson’s James Skalski (six) and NC State’s Drake Thomas (three). Jones finished the year with 110 tackles and was a first-team All-ACC player as the heart of the Orange defense in 2021.
Duce Chestnut also votes in two separate categories. The Syracuse corner finished second in ACC defensive rookie of the year voting, collecting 19 votes versus Clemson’s Andrew Mukuba’s 28 to win the honor. Miami’s James Williams and Wake Forest’s Jasheen Davis also received votes there. Meanwhile, Duce also received two votes for ACC rookie of the year — though that award was won by Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke (a former SU recruiting target), with 48 votes. Clemson’s Will Shipley finished second there with 12 votes, while Chestnut and Mukuba each had two.
Despite neither player receiving the largest prize, it’s still a solid showing for Syracuse that hopefully provides something to build on recruiting-wise. We’re also still waiting to hear on whether Jones will return or go to the NFL Draft. Chestnut has already stated he’s sticking around next year, and has two years until he’s draft eligible.