Orange Watch: What’s in a name? Rare similarity for two Syracuse football players

The top three preseason ACC picks in the same division is a steep hurdle for the 2017 Orange
Dino Babers will be able to watch two Devin Butlers contribute to the ’17 team, one on each side of the ball

Item: It’s been a couple of months since he enrolled for the spring semester to join the Syracuse football program as a grad transfer from Notre Dame, and it’s been a couple of weeks since he missed four days due to an unspecified injury during the spring practice sessions. During this past Saturday’s SU football “Spring Showcase” event at the Dome, we got a long look at the physical play of CB Devin Butler, a Washington, D.C. native who didn’t play last season (his senior season) for the Irish, going up against several of his speedy Orange receiving corps teammates during the scrimmage. One of those receivers, not to be confused, is also named Devin Butler. The sophomore wideout also from the D.C. area, is looking for a breakout season, and he caught a late TD pass from starting QB Eric Dungey in the “Showcase,” hauling in a perfectly thrown ball over the out-stretched arm of you guessed it, Devin Butler.

Prior to 2017, it has only happened once before in the 127 year history of Syracuse football.

While there have been 15 other instances in which there have been two players with the same name that have lettered in program annals – Jim Brown, William Brown, Chris Davis, John Dillon, Kevin Greene, Charles Heck (Sr. and Jr.), Mike Jones, William Meyers, John Miller, William Perry, Tom Smith, Tom Stephens, Daniel Sullivan, John Taylor, and Joe Watt, only one other time prior to this upcoming season were there two players that shared the same name on the same Orange football roster.

You have to go back to the 1972 season, the penultimate in Ben Schwartzwalder’s quarter century of running the program, to find David A. King and David T. King.

» Related: A conspiracy theorist’s review of the Syracuse Football Spring Showcase

The latter, or Dave T. King, was a backup quarterback on the 5-6 squad, passing for 344 yards and two touchdowns, along with three interceptions. The former, more commonly known as Dave King, was a standout starting linebacker named as one of the team’s defensive MVPs. He died in 2009 at age 58.

For the first look that most in Orange Nation had last weekend of both Devin Butlers on the field, a vanilla spring scrimmage with a running clock or not, it was still an unusual site to see the Devin (C.) Butler in the No. 5 orange jersey, out-jump the Devin (M.) Butler in the No. 10 white jersey to grab a touchdown pass.

Or, as our colleague Jim Stechschulte summed up in his observations of the “final quarter” of the unusually paced proceedings:

“Eric Dungey connected on a deep pass down the left sideline with Devin Butler for a touchdown, beating Devin Butler for the score. Uh huh. Sure. Two guys with the same name on the same play? Sure.”

For Syracuse, hopefully it will be opposing coaches who get a double dose of the Devin Butlers this upcoming season, leaving them confused perhaps in a post game press conference setting or the like.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.