Syracuse Football: Aaron Bolinsky and Andre Szmyt deserve draft love, too

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the 2023 NFL Draft nearly upon us, this could be one of the most successful drafts in years for the Syracuse football program. As a Syracuse football fan, I often wonder why more Orange guys don’t get drafted, but I also admit I’m biased.

But this time I don’t think I’m biased when I sit here on the week of the draft wondering if two guys are being overlooked. I’m not saying they should be first-rounders but these two have contributed significantly to this team and been pillars of their position.

I’ve written about Sean Tucker getting medically cleared and available. I’ve written about why I think Mikel Jones could be the next Zaire Franklin being drafted late but being a huge team contributor to whoever drafts him. We all read the love Garrett Williams and Matthew Bergeron are getting and rightfully so. But what about Andre Szmyt and Aaron Bolinsky?

Andre Szmyt is a kicker and Aaron Bolinksky is a long snapper. Two positions that don’t necessarily bring excitement to a draft board. But here’s the thing, these are two guys who were great at their positions, and most of the time we only discuss these positions if they fail.

I hope that former Syracuse football players Aaron Bolinsky and Andre Szmyt get some draft love.

Andre Szmyt was a 2018 Lou Groza award winner and was arguably the most accurate field goal kicker in Syracuse history. Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers once said that Szmyt was so good coming in that a previous player told him that he’s so good he’ll be starting sooner than coach thinks. Andre’s “worst season” was still a season better than many and done without a special teams coach.

According to, Szmyt would finish his Syracuse football career as the career points leader with 454, ranking 13th in FBS history as well.

They also state he hit 30 field goals in that Lou Groza award season and is tied for second as well with 20 last season and finished with an 81 percent successful field goal rate and the most PATs (points after touchdowns) in school history, too, with 199. Call me crazy but I think that is worthy of draft consideration.

And what about Mr. Consistent, Aaron Bolinksky? I promise you there are a portion of fans who likely know of Bolinksky, but it’s likely most casual fans don’t know his name since most times they’re only mentioned if a snap goes over someone’s head like a Szmyt kick over a field goal post or do something wrong. But Aaron was the snapper on those Szmyt snaps as well as punts and played EVERY game from 2019-2022.

He was a team captain and a Wuerffel Trophy nominee awarded for community service as well as president of the Syracuse chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Much like Mikel, this is a team leader you want on your team and in your locker room. He’s like that guy at work you hired to make the pizzas (I’m hungry so bare with me here) but he also trains the new employees, remembers regular customers and comes to work on his day off because someone was out of work.

Oh and by the way, he was the snapper who helped not only Szmyt but punter Sterling Hofrichter as well. That should be considered as a contribution to excellence because if he doesn’t do his job well, they have to work harder or lose accuracy.

So again, I get it…special teams players don’t get a lot of love, although I did see Tully’s recently did a NIL deal with Central New York high school football player Leo Tallarico. On draft day, these might be names people won’t recognize but their consistency to do their job well should be acknowledged.

If you’re a team late in the draft looking for depth on special teams to solidify your playoff roster, these are two guys I’d look at drafting before they end up on another team helping someone else be successful.

Good luck to all the Syracuse football players eligible for the draft. You’ll always be family to me and others and we are all excited to watch you on Sundays. Go Orange!

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