Football

Pugh must consider future after Pinstripe Bowl

He’s been the stalwart player on Syracuse’s offensive line for the past three seasons, paving the way for three consecutive 1,000-yard rushers. And when he takes the field Saturday inside Yankee Stadium, it may well be for the last time along the Orange offensive front.

Justin Pugh, a redshirt junior offensive tackle, is projected by several analysts to be a high draft pick, whether he decides to come out after this season or stick around for one more season as a fifth-year senior. CBS Sports describes Pugh as having “enough talent to warrant at least a top-100 selection and make a case for the first round.”

Pugh has been an All-Big East performer in each of the last three seasons, including being named to the first team the last two seasons. During his time at Syracuse, Pugh has blocked for the likes of Delone Carter, Antwon Bailey and now, Jerome Smith. All three have gone over the 1,000-yard mark, and Smith will be back in 2013 for the Orange — a potential reason for Pugh to return.

The 6-foot-5, 297-pounder from Holland, Pa. missed the first four games of the 2012 season but still caught the attention of coaches around the Big East. And as Smith picked up steam toward the end of the year (he eclipsed 100 yards in four straight games in the second half of the season), Pugh and Co. showed their worth.

Saturday could be Pugh’s last game for the Orange, and after they paved the way for Carter to amass 198 yards in a Pinstripe Bowl win two years ago, he and his offensive line teammates will be looking for a similar smash-mouth performance against West Virginia this time around.

mjcohe02@syr.edu

Top Stories