Antwan Cordy waited more half a year for the moment.
Midway through Syracuse’s annual spring game in April, the redshirt junior safety jumped a route and intercepted a pass thrown by second-string quarterback Zach Mahoney. He took it all the way back for the only score of the first half in what was a game dominated by defense.
“Getting back the dome, having great plays, being physical,” Cordy said, “it felt great to be out there with my team.”
Indeed, it was the first time that Cordy was with his teammates since week two of the 2016 season when Cordy broke his forearm trying to make an endzone tackle against Louisville. Cordy was forced to watch from the sideline for the remaining 10 games as the SU defense surrendered 38.6 points per game, ranking a ghastly 120th in the country.
The struggles on defense were mostly expected from a team that was transitioning from Scott Shafer’s aggressive, blitzing defense to new defensive coordinator Brian Ward’s Tampa-2 scheme.
But the injuries didn’t help.
Aside from Cordy, the Orange also lost cornerback Juwan Dowels to a knee injury in the same game, depleting an already thin secondary.
With both back in the fold for 2017 and a full year under their belts with the new defense, Syracuse expects to make vast improvements.
Cordy, who started all 12 games at strong safety in 2015 and was second on the team in tackles with 68, will be a key part of it.
“With my injury, it was tough for me,” Cordy said. “It was good being out there for me.”
Inside slant: Syracuse certainly missed Cordy last season in the secondary, and the pick-6 during the spring game was a shining example of it. The SU defense understands the scheme better this season, and while no one is expecting the Orange to rise to the top of the ACC in defense, it should be improved, especially if Cordy can stay healthy.
- Birthdate: January 1995
- Hometown: Homestead, Fla.
- High School: South Dade
- Position: Safety
- Class: Junior
- Height: 5’8″
- Weight: 175 lbs
Career highlights: In the 2015 season, Cordy started all 12 games at strong safety and finished second on the team in tackles (68). That year, Cordy also set the Orange season record for most tackles for loss by a defensive back (12).
Jim Stechschulte contributed to this report.