Predicting Syracuse football’s 2022 defensive statistics

Mikel Jones
Syracuse linebacker Mikel Jones speaks to media at the 2022 ACC Kickoff event.

As the 2022 season rapidly approaches, it’s fair to wonder how exactly each individual player on the Syracuse roster will perform over the year.

I’ve decided to put out stat predictions based on an optimistic yet reasonable assumption for each player, should they play a full slate of games. That means no injuries are accounted for, and each player plays at or above their expected level.

Also, without a final depth chart released, we’ll be using my projected starters for this exercise. With that said, let’s get right down to it.

Today we’ll begin with the defense.

  • “TT”- Total tackles
  • “TFL”- Tackles-for-loss
  • “PBU”- Pass Break-ups
  • “INT”- Interceptions
  • “FF”- Forced Fumbles
  • “FR”- Fumble Recoveries


DE Caleb Okechukwu– long, strong and experienced, Okechukwu should have his best season yet as the de facto leader of this defensive line group.

  • 2021 Stats: 21 TT’s, 2 TFL’s, 1 sack, 1 FR
  • 2022 Prediction: 30 TT’s, 5 TFL’s, 3 sacks, 2 FF

DT Terry Lockett– Lockett had a strong showing last year given not much was expected out of him. That won’t be the case this year as he’ll need to eat up blocks to free SU’s playmaking linebackers.

  • 2021 Stats: 12 TT’s, 2 TFL’s, 2 sacks
  • 2022 Prediction: 20 TT’s, 3.5 TFL’s, 1 sack, 2 PBU’s

DE Steve Linton– tall but light defensive end that has great speed and should thrive with more playing time. Should be able to exploit mismatches against lesser tackles.

  • 2021 Stats: 6 TT’s, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU
  • 2022 Prediction: 25 TT’s, 7 TFL’s, 4 sacks, 3 PBU’s, 1 FR


LB Stefon Thompson– a starter since he stepped on the field as a true freshman and a second team All-ACC LB last year, Thompson’s sack numbers are on the rise and I see that continuing.

  • 2021 Stats: 79 TT’s, 7 TFL’s, 6 sacks, 2 FF’s
  • 2022 Prediction: 82 TT’s, 5 TFL’s, 8 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR

LB Mikel Jones– the heart and soul of the Orange defense, Jones should continue his stellar college career and punch his ticket to the NFL with another great season on one of the nation’s top defenses.

  • 2021 Stats: 110 TT’s, 7.5 TFL’s, 2 sacks, 1 FR
  • 2022 Prediction: 100 TT’s, 7 TFL’s, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 3 PBU’s, 1 FF, 2 FR’s

LB Marlowe Wax– a fantastic overall edge player, Wax sports the combo of true pass rush ability and speed to bring down ball carriers on outside runs. He’s expected to have a big year.

  • 2021 Stats: 60 TT’s, 7 TFL’s, 4 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 FF
  • 2022 Prediction: 85 TT’s, 5.5 TFL’s, 7 sacks, 2 FF, 2 FR’s

» Related: ESPN national writer puts Orange in the postseason in 2022


CB Darian Chestnut– “Duce” will cement himself as a household name in 2022 after being the runner-up for ACC Defensive Rookie Of The Year and a freshman All-American. His high-level athleticism allows him to use his even higher-level football IQ to the best of his abilities. ACC wide receivers beware.

  • 2021 Stats: 43 TT’s, 1.5 TFL’s, 3 INT’s, 11 PBU’s
  • 2022 Prediction: 59 TT’s, 3 TFL’s, 6 INT’s, 10 PBU’s

CB Garret Williams– the most complete cornerback in Syracuse’s backfield, Williams plays the run extremely well while managing elite coverage downfield, evidenced by his healthy TFL numbers while simultaneously leading the ACC in PBU’s the last two years. The perfect compliment to Chestnut.

  • 2021 Stats: 52 TT’s, 6 TFL’s, 10 PBU’s
  • 2022 Prediction: 65 TT’s, 5 TFL’s, 1 sack, 2 INT’s, 8 PBU’s, 1 FF

CB Alijah Clark– transfer from Rutgers who played well in a limited playing time and should fit into the slot role in Syracuse. Former four star recruit with a high ceiling playing with two other elite corners.

  • 2021 Stats: 6 TT’s, 1 INT
  • 2022 Prediction: 28 TT’s, 2 TFL’s, 3 PBU’s, 1 FR

SS Ja’Had Carter- SU’s playmaking safety, Carter had a down year due to injury last year but will be free to roam the field once again in Tony White’s defense, and should make the most of it.

  • 2021 Stats: 35 TT’s, 1 PBU
  • 2022 Prediction: 55 TT’s, 3 TFL’s 1 sack, 2 INT’s, 4 PBU’s, 1 FF

FS Jason Simmons, Jr– son of a former NFL safety, Simmons has the size and speed to play free safety and has a nose for the ball carrier in the backfield as well, using his elite downhill speed.

  • 2021 Stats: 42 TT’s, 1.5 TFL’s, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 FF
  • 2022 Prediction: 55 TT’s, 3 TFL’s, 2 INT, 5 PBU’s, 1 FF

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About Rutger Sears 129 Articles
Rutger is a freelance writer and as a Syracuse native, has an affinity for all Syracuse University Athletics. From Donovan McNabb to Mike Powell, Rutger has seen greatness in many forms don an Orange uniform over the last 30 years. He covers all Syracuse athletics with a particular emphasis on football and recruiting.