Syracuse Football: Sean Tucker headlines pre-season All-ACC selections

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports) /

National media outlet Athlon Sports deems eight Syracuse football players as among the best at their positions within the Atlantic Coast Conference ahead of the 2022 season.

Just in the past few days, Athlon Sports released its pre-season All-ACC teams for the upcoming campaign.

The media outlet noted on its Web site that its All-ACC squads are based on how players are expected to perform in 2022.

Athlon Sports said that career statistics and honors are factored into its evaluations, but the biggest criteria are determining the premier individual players at every position in the conference for this coming stanza.

Let’s see which Syracuse football players are pre-season All-ACC choices.

On the Athlon Sports All-ACC first team are two Orange players, stellar running back Sean Tucker and excellent linebacker Mikel Jones.

Tucker, who is receiving some 2023 NFL Draft buzz from famed ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr., was an All-American in 2021, when he rushed for 1,496 yards and scored 12 touchdowns on the ground.

The decision by Jones to return to the Hill for the 2022 season, his fourth year with the Orange, is a really big deal for the squad’s defensive outlook this fall.

An All-ACC first-team performer in 2021, Jones compiled 110 tackles a campaign ago, 60 solo tackles and 13 tackles for loss, per his bio on the SU Athletics Web site.

The Athlon Sports All-ACC second squad includes three Orange players, offensive tackle Matthew Bergeron, cornerback Duce Chestnut and kick returner Trebor Pena.

Syracuse football linebacker Stefon Thompson is on the Athlon Sports All-ACC third team.

On the media outlet’s All-ACC fourth group are ‘Cuse cornerback Garrett Williams and place-kicker Andre Szmyt, who captured the 2018 Lou Groza Award.

As we noted in another recent column, Kiper put Tucker at No. 8 among running backs for his early positional rankings regarding the 2023 NFL Draft.

In these ratings from Kiper, meanwhile, Williams is slotted at No. 9 among cornerbacks.

Syracuse football has a daunting 2022 schedule, but I still think that the Orange can realistically contend for reaching six victories and potentially qualifying for a post-season bowl game.

On defense, the linebackers’ core and the secondary could both prove terrific. Special teams should be better. Obviously, Tucker is a star.

I’m curious to see how the passing attack fares, both from the quarterback’s perspective, as well as in the wide receivers’ unit.

Additionally, how the Syracuse football offensive and defensive lines hold up will be paramount to the ‘Cuse improving upon its 5-7 record from 2021.

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