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Canadian contingent keen to impress with the Orange

As we head towards the fall, the prospect of enjoying college football edges tantalizingly closer. Although 2020 has been far from your typical year so far, the athletics program at Syracuse University is already planning the summer workouts, ahead of the upcoming NCAA Division I FBS football season.

After posting an impressive 10-3 overall record in 2018 and 6-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), hopes were high for another strong campaign last season. However, the team based in the Finger Lakes region of New York State were frustrating in 2019, registering a disappointing 2-6 conference record and 5-7 overall.

The latest American football odds for the NCAA 2020 CFP title have unsurprisingly marked Clemson Tigers as favorites, and they’re expected to dominate the Atlantic Division again after posting a perfect 8-0 record last season. Those are the kind of numbers that Syracuse could only dream of aspiring towards. Nevertheless, there are hopes that Dino Babers can come up with a winning formula, during what will be his 5th season as head coach of the Orange.

Interestingly, his team will feature the biggest contingent of Canadian players anywhere in the FBS, with seven on the roster. Syracuse University has always maintained a traditionally strong relationship with athletes from north of the border, although this year there will be more Canadians than ever in the side, with seven in total.

The best ranked Canadian player in college football is Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, who finished eighth in the 2019 Heisman Trophy voting. Nevertheless, his compatriots based in Syracuse will be keen to make their mark with the Orange in 2020, with Matthew Bergeron perhaps the leading name amongst the Canadian contingent.

Bergeron was a starter in the final five games of the 2019 season, producing impressive displays as an offensive lineman, becoming the first true freshman to start at tackle for more than a decade. He will be keen to hold down a regular starting berth in the team throughout the 2020 campaign, while his other Canadian companions aim to follow suit.

The most likely candidate to join Bergeron in contention for regular starts will be fellow Quebec native Patrick Davis. Over the last three seasons, Davis has had to bide his time as a backup offensive lineman, although he will be keen to challenge for more games following the graduation of Evan Adams.

Having started nine games last season, linebacker Geoff Cantin-Arku will be hoping his sophomore year brings plenty more action. Meanwhile, Tyrell Richards will be keen to build on the 2019 Joe Szombathy award he won last season, as the top special teams player on the Syracuse Orange roster.

Kevin Mital redshirted last season at wide receiver and will be battling to taste more of the action, while following in his footsteps and having joined the roster this spring, freshmen Damien Alford and Ben Labrosse make up the seven Canadians eager to impress. Hopefully, they will all get the chance to demonstrate their football talent throughout the 2020 campaign.

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