Tight End Position Starting to Yield Fruit for Orange

Hackett and Benson carving out bigger roles in Orange offense

Syracuse head coach Dino Babers
Syracuse head coach Dino Babers speaks to an official. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Tight end seems to be the latest trick Dino Babers has pulled out of his magic Orange hat if the past two games are any indication.

With the Tommy DeVito era in full swing, Babers and his staff have stockpiled talent at the skill positions. And it shows.

Looking to march down the field in the 2-minute drill or take chunk plays to the endzone? Trishton Jackson, Taj Harris, Sean Riley, Nykeim Johnson are DeVito’s targets.

Need to ground and pound before ripping off a long run? Moe Neal, Abdul Adams, and Jarveon Howard give Syracuse a steady diet of power and speed with the rock in their hands.

The Orange is set to embark on the bulk of its ACC slate beginning at NC State, now that the Clemson debacle is behind them. And Syracuse’s tight ends are starting to make their mark too.

Aaron Hackett

The Venice, FL product is in his third season. Hackett played mostly on special teams his freshman season before playing in all 13 games as a sophomore. He finished last year with 43 yards on four receptions and a single touchdown.

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The junior already has 12 catches for 101 yards and three scores through five games this season; two against Western Michigan and a third last week versus Holy Cross.

Luke Benson

A true freshman, Benson caught two balls for 26 yards in the loss to Clemson. But it was last Saturday against Holy Cross that the Pennsylvania native introduced himself to the Orange faithful with a 70-yard catch and run that didn’t stop until he scored his first collegiate touchdown.

Benson showed some serious wheels as he pulled away from the defenders on his way to the endzone. Granted, he blew the doors off Holy Cross defensive backs. ACC-level secondaries will provide a stiffer challenge. But, speed is speed.

Hackett was on the field when Benson scored. If both players continue to make progress in the passing game, teams will have to account for both when they’re in the game at the same time.

And like Hackett, Benson stands 6-foot-3. Their height is sure to be an advantage inside the red zone.

Steven Mahar

Set to join Hackett and Benson next season is Rochester native Steven Mahar.

Mahar is a 3-star commit who attends Aquinas Institute in Rochester, NY. He’s also Syracuse’s second-highest rated recruit in the Class of 2020. Mahar can sign his National Letter of Intent in December.

Mahar stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 225 pounds. His other offers include Boston College, Indiana, Iowa State, and Rutgers. And he’s the fifth-ranked recruit in New York according to 247Sports.

Once the offensive line gets healthier and builds better chemistry, DeVito and the skill position players should start making the scoreboard sing.

That goes for the guys who play tight end too.

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About Steve Auger 95 Articles
Steve Auger is a freelance writer whose work has covered a variety of topics including sports, pets, parenting, healthy living, local government and human interest stories. His work has been published on Care.com, Tom’s of Maine, Purina’s Petcentric.com and the Westford Patch. Steve’s been a diehard Syracuse sports fan for over 25 years. To this day, the words “Smart takes the shot” still make him cringe. Follow him on Twitter @Corner_Cube.