Two of them are First-Teamers
Athlon Sports has released their All-Conference Teams ahead of the 2022 football season, and the Syracuse Orange are well represented on the ACC list. These rankings are based on previous production and expected growth this season; strength of schedule is not a deciding factor. Eight SU players made the cut, so we’ll run through them for you now:
Sean Tucker – It’s no surprise that another site is pleased with his performance and expects it to continue this fall. Tucker shattered the SU single-season rushing record with just under 1,500 yards on the ground and returns to the bell-cow spot in the Orange backfield. Add his pass catching ability and there’s little question as to why the dark-horse Heisman candidate earned First Team Offense.
Mikel Jones – One of the defensive captains in 2021, Jones decided to return for another go with the Cuse this year. The veteran presence will look to put all his best numbers together after racking up four picks, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries in 2020, followed by only one fumble recovery, but an uptick in overall tackles and tackles-for-loss, in 2021.
Matthew Bergeron – A huge reason why Sean Tucker was so successful last year, Bergeron started all 12 games at Left Tackle. His blocking allowed SU RBs an average of four yards-per-carry off his position, the best in the ACC per ESPN. He also served as some consistency on an O-Line that has shifted repeatedly over the last few seasons.
Duce Chestnut – After a nice rookie season, it should only be up from here for the ESPN Freshman All-American. Duce’s three picks and eight pass breakups combined for the second-most passes defended in the ACC. He pairs up with another SU DB on this list to form a very legitimate cornerback duo.
Trebor Pena – This speed-demon is the first of two Orange awardees on the special teams unit. Pena played in eight games before being injured at Virginia Tech, compiling 552 yards between kick and punt returns. He also had a 62-yard TD catch against Clemson.
Stefon Thompson – In his two seasons (22 games) with SU so far, Thompson has 114 tackles, 14.5 tackles-for-loss, nine sacks, and three forced fumbles. His production doubled almost across the board in 2021 and should continue to climb in 2022.
Garrett Williams – The other half of the CB duo, Williams led the ACC in passes broken up two years in a row. We’ll see if he makes it three in a row after also putting off the NFL Draft and returning to Syracuse.
Andre Szmyt – Szmyt happens when this guy is on the field for the Orange. It’s been more good than bad for the longtime ‘Cuse kicker, but he’s coming off what’s hopefully an outlier of a season – he was only 9-14 on FG tries in 2021.