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Syracuse Football: 7 Orange players make preseason 2023 All-ACC teams

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

Seven Syracuse football players reside on Athlon Sports’ preseason All-ACC teams ahead of the 2023 campaign.

According to Athlon Sports, leading the way on these All-ACC squads are Florida State and Clemson, with 15 selections each. The Orange has eight total selections, as Trebor Pena was chosen in two separate categories.

Steven Lassan, in his write-up for Athlon Sports, notes that players were picked based on how they are expected to perform in the 2023 term.

He said that career stats and awards are factored in, but these preseason All-ACC teams forecast the best individual players at every position in the Atlantic Coast Conference ahead of the 2023 season.

Syracuse football players have scored some preseason All-ACC accolades.

Athlon Sports’ All-ACC offensive first team includes Orange tight end/wide receiver Oronde Gadsden II, who had a terrific 2022 season, when the ‘Cuse went 7-6 overall and went to a bowl game.

The 6-foot-5, 216-pound Gadsden, a junior, is out of the American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. In 2022, he was on the All-ACC first team, as disclosed by the conference.

Linebacker Marlowe Wax Jr., one of the leaders of the Syracuse football defense, is on the Athlon Sports All-ACC defensive second team.

The 6-foot-1, 239-pound junior, out of Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore, was an honorable-mention All-ACC performer a stanza ago.

Defensive lineman Caleb Okechukwu is on the Athlon Sports All-ACC defensive third squad. The 6-foot-4, 268-pound Okechukwu, a redshirt senior, attended St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C.

Trebor Pena, a kickoff/punt returner as well as a wide receiver, was named to the Athlon Sports All-ACC specialists third team as a punt returner. The 6-foot, 177-pound Pena, a junior, is from Ocean Township High School in Oakhurst, N.J.

Running back LeQuint Allen Jr., who is expected to take over the starting position after Sean Tucker headed to the NFL, is on the Athlon Sports All-ACC offensive fourth unit. The 6-foot, 195-pound Allen, a sophomore, went to Millville Senior High School in Millville, N.J.

On the Athlon Sports All-ACC defensive fourth squad is safety Justin Barron. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Barron, a junior, attended the Suffield Academy in Suffield, Conn.

Also on Athlon Sports’ All-ACC defensive fourth team is linebacker Stefon Thompson, who took a medical redshirt in 2022 after suffering an unfortunate season-ending injury in the first game of last term.

The 6-foot-1, 250-pound Thompson, a redshirt sophomore, attended Vance High School in Charlotte, N.C.

Making the Athlon Sports All-ACC specialists fourth squad as a kickoff returner was Pena, bringing the total number of selections for Syracuse football to eight.

This appears to be a solid showing for the Orange, which was recently projected to earn a second-consecutive bowl berth by college football expert Brett McMurphy.

That being said, I was a tad surprised that senior quarterback Garrett Shrader wasn’t included on any of the Athlon Sports preseason All-ACC teams.

Conference quarterbacks on these squads are Drake Maye of North Carolina, Jordan Travis of Florida State, Cade Klubnik of Clemson and Riley Leonard of Duke, who is a former Syracuse football recruiting target in the 2021 cycle.

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