ICYMI: Syracuse Football news from the past week

Several players are earning recognition as SU's season opener against Central Connecticut State nears.

The calendars have been circled and the hype is building around Syracuse University’s football season opener against Central Connecticut State this Friday. But in the midst of Orange fever, the team has had an eventful couple of weeks leading up to its first game. Here’s a recap of what is going on ahead of Friday’s opener.

Co-captain getting recognition in final season

On August 24, senior linebacker Zaire Franklin (Philadelphia, Pa.) was named to the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list.

Franklin will be competing to claim one of the 110 roster spots for the game on January 27, 2018 at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

Franklin is the SU active leader in games started (27), tackles (226), tackles for loss (26), sacks (7) and forced fumbles (4). He is also a candidate for the 2017 Lott IMPACT Trophy and has earned preseason all-conference honors from Athlon Sports, Lindy’s and Phil Steele. Last year, Franklin was an All-ACC Third Team selection.

A new addition

The team announced August 20 it added a new transfer eligible to play immediately.

Sophomore defensive end Alton Robinson (Converse, Texas) comes to the Orange from Junior College school Northeastern Oklahoma A&M with three years of eligibility remaining. As a freshman in 2016, Robinson was named to the All-Southwest JUCO Conference Second Team.

He totaled 67 tackles and finished third in the country with 14 sacks.

Another watch list for Dungey

On August 16, Syracuse junior quarterback Eric Dungey (Lake Oswego, Ore.) was named to the watch list for the Manning Award.

The award is given to the top quarterback in the country following bowl season.

It’s yet another watch list addition for Dungey, who was included on the watch lists for the Maxwell Award, which is given to the nation’s most outstanding player, and the Davey O’Brien Award, which is given to the nation’s most outstanding quarterback.

Dungey is coming off a red hot 2016 season by setting the Syracuse sophomore records for most passing yards (2,679) and most yards of total offense (2,972). He ranked sixth nationally in completions per game (25.6), 12th in passing yards per game (297.7) and 13th in completion percentage (64.8). In the eight full games he played last year, Dungey passed for 300 yards four times and 400 yards twice.

The winner for the Manning Award will be selected the week after the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Recognition for a former player

Former Orange offensive lineman J. Michael Anderson has been named the 2017 recipient of the Zunic Award for his courage through personal tragedy by giving back to the community.

He and his wife Flo’s two oldest sons, Jimmy and Eric, died in their sleep 16 years apart. But that never stopped the Andersons from giving back. Anderson takes time out of each day visiting online grief sites to offer assistance to those who have gone through similar tragedies in their lives. He has also served as a youth basketball coach for more than two decades at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Liverpool and coached baseball in the Salt City Little League for 10 years.

The couple volunteers regularly on the holidays serving meals at the Syracuse Rescue Mission. They are also active in the Liverpool Central School District “Dollars for Scholars” program. Through the program, the Andersons have established a scholarship in Jimmy’s name.

Anderson will be honored September 8 during a dinner at Timber Backs Golf Club in Baldwinsville and then recognized when Syracuse hosts Middle Tennessee on September 9 at the Carrier Dome.

Anderson played for head coach Ben Schwartzwalder’s last team in 1973 and head coach Frank Maloney in 1974. He graduated in 1977.

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