Spring football concludes for Syracuse with its spring game on Friday, and we caught up with former defensive back Carl Jones to give his expectations for the 2022 on The Juice on the Cuse Podcast, presented by SNY.tv.
Jones appeared in all 49 games during his time with the Orange from 2016-19, and has continued to follow the team closely. And though Syracuse has not made a bowl since 2018, he believes SU is in line to break that streak this year.
“This a make or break year for the team and we’re going to make it happen,” Jones says. “As long as they take some steps forward in the passing game this year, I could easily see us going bowling.”
Jones cited a variety of reasons, including what should be an improved passing game under second-year starter Garrett Shrader and the return of All-American running back Sean Tucker.
Of course, another reason he believes SU is in for a bounce back year is because of the defense, and specifically the secondary. Syracuse added two transfers, Bralyn Oliver (Louisville) and Alijah Clark (Rutgers), in the offseason, and returns several key defensive backs, including All-ACC Honorable Mention Garrett Williams and Freshman All-American Deuce Chestnut.
Jones praised SU’s defensive backs as the ‘top of the top’ in the ACC.
“The defensive back group has always been impressive,” he says. “That secondary with an improved pass rush will cause some havoc this year in the ACC for sure.”
We also chatted about his post football career. Jones stayed at Syracuse following graduation, graduating with a masters degree in broadcast journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He now works in nearby Rochester for WROC-TV News 8 as a sports reporter, covering everything from high school sports all the way up to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
In his free time, Jones also hosts a sports podcast called “Courting the Field” with his long time friend Sean Flannery. The two met while at St. Edward (OH) High, and both went on to play at the collegiate level, with Flannery playing basketball at John Carroll in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Being around sports has suited Jones well in his post-Syracuse career.
Said Jones: “I’m in heaven. I cannot make this clear enough. I’m very ecstatic about the way things have started out so far.”
Afterward editor in chief Brad Bierman calls in to talk about Syracuse lacrosse’s win over Duke, and previews its upcoming matchup against Notre Dame.