As we countdown to kickoff in August, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each week over the summer. SU will continue its 2018 non-conference schedule when it plays the Wagner Seahawks on Sept. 8.
UNIQUE PATH: Something happened in April with Wagner football that hadn’t occurred in 53 years—they had a player taken in the NFL Draft. Offensive tackle Greg Senate was taken by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round, 212th overall, completing a unique path to the NFL. Senat started his career with the Seahawks on their basketball team, and was a four-year player on the court. But starting in 2016, he transitioned to football and became a starter, and eventually focused completely on football during 2017. With just two years of college experience, Senat wowed scouts with his blend of size, agility and strength, and joined Rich Kotite (18th round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings) as the only two players in school history to be drafted.
WHO TO WATCH FOR: Though the Seahawks are returning seven starters on offense, they will have to make up for the losses of Senat and left tackle Matt Diaz, who now plays for the Tennessee Titans. Still, Wagner returns senior running back Ryan Fulse, who was named First-Team NEC in 2017 after rushing for 1387 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Second-Team NEC selection Chris Woodard, a tight end who caught 10 passes for 210 yards. On defense, 10 of 11 starters return from last season, headlined by Second-Team NEC linebacker Quintin Hampton.
PREDICTION: Wagner went 4-7 overall last season with a 2-4 record in the NEC, tied for fifth in conference. Though there’s plenty of experience returning on the defensive side of the ball, expect a similar result to 2017, when the Orange opened with a 50-7 win over Central Connecticut State. SYRACUSE 49, WAGNER 10.