Scott continues to anchor secondary

The Battle for the Schwartzwalder Trophy Friday will come down to the performance of the secondary against West Virginia's star quarterback, Geno Smith. Luckily for SU, Kevyn Scott leads the group.

The plot was familiar to Syracuse fans except for some minor changes.

This time, the quarterback was Toledo's Austin Dantin, not Wake Forest's Ted Stachitas. The interception was a leaping grab near the right side of the end zone, not a diving grab to snare the ball at the 32 of the opposition. The game was in overtime, as opposed to the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

Photo: McKenzie Carlile
One of three captains on the team, Scott has been recognized for his actions on and off the field.

But in both cases, the man intercepting the pass was Kevyn Scott. In both cases, the play gave the Orange the opportunity to win the football game. Plus, in both cases, the Orange would eventually get the victory at home.

Fans of the Orange (4-2, 0-1 Big East) hope Scott snatches another key interception against the West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1, 1-0 Big East) Friday when they visit the Carrier Dome. But that’s going to be difficult against one of the best aerial attacks in the country.  Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith already passed for an incredible 2,159 yards and 16 touchdowns in just six games this season.

For Scott, though, the opportunity to play against one of the top offenses in country is a welcome challenge.

“We’re going to have our hands full, but we’re ready for the challenge,” Scott said. “We’ve been having a good week of practice so far, we’re coming off the bye week and we just have to be ready because we’re going to have our hands full.”

Challenges are nothing new to Scott. In fact, He's been dealing with them since he first began playing for the Orange.  

His first season, the last of the Greg Robinson era, saw the team go 3-9, including a dismal loss to Akron of the Mid-American Conference in the home opener, 42-28. Then, in the first season under Doug Marrone, the team finished with just four wins.

“Over my five years here, I’ve learned how to handle adversity and learned how to handle the ups and the downs,” Scott said. “In the beginning years of my tenure here, we weren’t very good.”

Scott credits Marrone with bringing a winning culture to Syracuse, a necessity for a football program that hadn’t topped .500 since 2001. Last season saw that winning culture come to fruition, as the team finished 8-5, including a win over Kansas State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

Unfortunately, the season was not as kind to Scott. Due to a myriad of injuries, the corner missed the first seven games of the year and made just one start during the 2010 season.

“It took a lot of mental toughness through it all because I missed my whole season,” Scott said. “It was tough for me, but I worked through it and through strong faith, I overcame it.”

This season, Scott has made his presence known. He’s started all six games this season, a rarity for a team with a defensive backfield plagued by injuries. He’s also one of only two players on the team to record an interception this year.

However, Syracuse’s defensive coordinator, Scott Shafer, is most impressed with Scott’s week-to-week performance.

“He’s done a good job," Shafer said. "He’s been more consistent with his play. He had a couple struggles last week, but I know he’s excited to be back on the field.” 

Scott’s on-the-field success might only be surpassed by his success off it. He’s made the Big East All-Academic team the past three years, and has made the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll six times in his career. To Scott, success in academics is just as important as his success off the field.

“I take pride in my academics and also, I take pride in my athletics,” Scott said of being named to the All-Academic team. “So yes, that is a big thing for me.”

During the 2009 season, that success sent Scott to Washington D.C., as he was selected to attend the University Presidential Inaugural Conference. During the conference, he heard speeches from figures like former-Vice President Al Gore and Gen. Colin Powell. He was also able to attend the inauguration of the 44th president, Barack Obama.

For Scott, the inauguration is something he will remember for the rest of his life.

“It allowed me as a student-athlete to believe that anything is possible,” Scott said. “If we could have a black president, the first black president, and I witnessed the scene at his inauguration. I realized that anything is possible.”

Currently, Scott is one of three captains on the team, in addition to being the most senior member of the secondary. Plus, as a leader, his teammates are taking notice of his attitude both on and off the field.

Sophomore Keon Lyn, a fellow cornerback, sees Scott as a talented member of the team.

“He’s a great cornerback, he can press or play off,” Lyn said. “He’s a great leader too, a captain of the team. He does everything well on and off the field.”

For Scott, that means keeping players spirits up, a major component of his role on the team. 

“The key thing is to encourage them,” Scott said. “If a bad play is made, (I say) ‘Let’s go, move on to the next one, you got it.’ My goal is to try to bring out the best in my teammates.”

After all, Scott has already brought out the best in himself.


Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.