yriam Cisco had just settled into her seat when the Syracuse parents surrounding her started jumping. It was the first minute of the first Syracuse game she had watched in-person, and her son, Andre Cisco, bullied Wagner receiver Andrew Celis across the field and hauled in an interception. Myriam took a few seconds to react. She was still nervous.
Andre’s career hadn’t been straightforward. He decided which high school he wanted to attend in elementary school and insisted on it until his mother paid his tuition, only to leave St. Anthony’s for IMG Academy after two years. At the time, he was an unheralded 16-year-old without any scholarship offers. But when he returned to New York, he was the starting free safety at an ACC school.
To Myriam, that play in 2018 was cathartic.
“I was so happy for him,” she said. “This is exactly what he’s worked so hard for.”
Andre entered the national spotlight freshman year, winning ACC defensive rookie of the year and leading the FBS in interceptions. He’s a two-time All-ACC selection, topping the conference in takeaways his sophomore year despite missing three games. He struggled with injuries his second year, but after spending an offseason working out, he’s a 2020 preseason All-American, a 2021 NFL Draft prospect and the Orange’s top defensive back.
Now, he’s looking to build off what he called an underwhelming season.
“A lot more leadership, a lot more plays to be made this season,” Andre said. “I’m looking to fly around to the ball and lift the energy on this team every game.”
From his first year of football in fifth grade, the Syracuse free safety mapped out his career: St. Anthony’s, college football and then the NFL. Though he took a 1200-mile detour to IMG Academy, Andre has accomplished exactly what he’s set out to do so far.
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Andre realized he wanted to play in the NFL after a trip to MetLife Stadium in middle school.
Barclays, the company Myriam worked for at the time, organized a family day of carnival games at the New York Giants and Jets Stadium. He went along, unsure of what to expect. When he stepped onto the field, a smile crossed his face, Myriam said. He gazed around the field in awe — this is what he had dreamt of.
“I could see myself playing here,” his mother remembered him saying. She knew then it was his destiny. But, she wasn’t as sure when he first told her about his dream.
Andre’s first season was with the Valley Stream Green Hornets, the local team in Valley Stream, New York. He picked up the game quickly, understanding plays and formations in his first season. When the season ended that fall, he laid out his planned football path.
“I probably didn’t take it as serious back then, when he first said it,” Myriam said.
But he brought it up every season. St. Anthony’s, college football and then the NFL. He continued to impress on the field, enrolling in St. Anthony’s one year later. Step one was complete.