Syracuse football: Jakob Bradford and Mark Petry rise from former JUCO transfers to O-Line starters

Heading into this season, the Syracuse Orange football team had high hopes for their offensive line. With three starters from 2022 needing to be replaced, the team relied on a group of fresh transfers to reinforce the line. However, as we approach the final stretch of the season, it’s clear that the transfers who have made the biggest impact are not the ones everyone expected.

Due to injuries to David Wohlabaugh and Kalan Ellis, the right side of the line turned to two veterans of the system, Jakob Bradford and Mark Petry, to step up and start. Both players started their college careers at community colleges before being recruited by Syracuse. Now in their junior years, Bradford and Petry are key players on the ‘Cuse offense, and they understand the importance of performing well in this critical part of the season:

“As the season progresses, you’re expected to improve,” Petry said. “You face different challenges, tough opponents, and you need to grow to keep playing. While compliments are nice, our focus is on doing our job.”

Mark is referring to a comment by head coach Dino Babers about the offensive line’s improvement since the start of the season. The data supports this improvement, especially in the passing game, with the exception of a rough performance against Clemson.

Both Petry and Bradford have pass-blocking grades above the PFF Mendoza-line of 60. Bradford holds a rating of 73.0, second only to Chris Bleich’s team-leading 75.8. Petry bounced back from two poor performances with a rating of 85.7 against Florida State.

As teased earlier, the duo will face a tough challenge in Antwaun Powell-Ryland from Virginia Tech. Powell-Ryland has been a force over the past three games, recording five sacks and two forced fumbles. His individual performance has been instrumental in the Hokies’ recent success.

“We’ve been patiently waiting for our opportunity, and now we finally have it,” Bradford said. “While it’s rewarding, it’s not something we’re unfamiliar with. We embrace it and continue to play with a chip on our shoulder.”


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