Syracuse Football: With Oronde Gadsden out, five receivers must step up

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

Through its first three games, Syracuse football is undefeated and averaging nearly 50 points per contest, which is good for a top-five national ranking at this point in the young 2023 season.

However, Orange star receiver Oronde Gadsden II is out for the remainder of the 2023 term after suffering a Lisfranc injury during the team’s home win over Western Michigan, per SU Athletics.

The 6-foot-5, 223-pound junior, who hails from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was an All-ACC first-team performer a stanza ago, and ahead of 2023, Gadsden appeared on numerous preseason All-America lists.

More importantly than anything else, Orange Nation is sending love to Oronde and wishing him a speedy recovery. Without question, his season-ending injury is a tough blow for the ‘Cuse, which will host Army this coming Saturday afternoon before commencing with Atlantic Coast Conference competition.

Other Syracuse football receivers have to step up for the ‘Cuse to succeed this season.

When the Orange knocked off Purdue this past Saturday night on the road, senior quarterback Garrett Shrader was a total stud. He rushed for 195 yards and scored four touchdowns on the ground.

He also threw for 184 yards but was only 14-of-28 with his pass attempts. But let’s not put the blame solely on Shrader here, as various ‘Cuse receivers dropped numerous catchable passes.

With Gadsden out, Shrader assumably will be called on more from a rushing standpoint, however, the Orange can’t rely just on Garrett to do the heavy lifting by himself. Opposing defenses are going to key in on him more.

As ‘Cuse head coach Dino Babers said earlier this week, per 247Sports’ James Finneral, other Syracuse football receivers “have to carve out their worth.”

From a receiving standpoint, here are some of the key guys to monitor moving forward, especially with junior wide receiver/return specialist Trebor Pena remaining off the Orange’s depth chart:

Redshirt freshman Donovan Brown
The 6-foot-1, 178-pound Brown, out of Montgomery Village, Md., has caught 12 passes for 206 yards, including an 86-touchdown score against Western Michigan, according to Brown is lightning fast. He had 52 receiving yards against the Boilermakers.

Redshirt sophomore Umari Hatcher
To date in 2023, the 6-foot-3, 183-pound Hatcher has hauled in nine passes for 188 yards and one receiving touchdown. He is from Woodbridge, Va. Hatcher didn’t have any receiving yards versus Purdue.

Redshirt junior Isaiah Jones
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Jones, out of Cocoa, Fla., has caught eight passes for 157 yards, and he currently leads the ‘Cuse with two receiving scores. He didn’t play a whole lot against the Boilermakers.

Junior Damien Alford
Alford, who is from Montreal, Quebec, has caught eight passes for 112 yards and one score through the air. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Alford was solid in the victory over Purdue, hauling in four passes for 70 yards.

Sophomore LeQuint Allen Jr.
The 6-foot, 195-pound Allen, from Millville, N.J., is the Orange’s top running back. Against the Boilermakers, he rushed 17 times for 80 yards and a score on the ground. But Allen also caught six passes for 62 yards, with 58 of those yards coming after the catch. For all of 2023 so far, he has eight receptions for 72 yards. With Gadsden injured, look for Allen to become even more of a factor in the ‘Cuse passing attack.

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