Junior | 6’0″, 206 lbs | IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL), Hometown: Queens, NY)
Aggressive, ball-hawk, archetype for a positionless defense DB
At the time he committed to Syracuse, Andre Cisco had seven D-1 offers but had been ignored by almost every power five program. Bowling Green told him they didn’t have a roster spot. As a freshman, he started 11 games, led the nation with 7 interceptions, racked up 60 tackles and was the best defensive player on a team that went 10-3 — 7 wins over majors programs that hadn’t interested in Cisco. He was listed as a pre-season All-American entering his sophomore season but a groin injury in September derailed his his season. He’ll be hoping for a bounce back in 2020.
Strengths of his Game
- Plays everywhere – single-high, man coverage on slot or outside receiver, in the box
- Elite range, closing speed is as impressive as any safety in ’20 class
- Ball hawk – great hands, nose for the ball, always looking to take away (2 forced fumbles to go with 12 interceptions in two years)
- Instinctive, plays with no hesitation (good thing most of the time)
- Comes down vs. the run looking to punish someone, can be a really good tackler
- Sticks in better than most corners in man
- Flips his hips beautifully, has 4.5 speed to turn and run with deep ball receivers
- Effort is phenomenal
Questions to Answer or Areas to Improve
- Greatest strength can also be his downfall — too aggressive trying to jump a route, bate a throw, not quite ‘know before you go’
- Gets drawn in by play fakes, misdirection (burned more than once)
- Tendency to go straight for ball carrier, pursue too aggressively and loses leverage
- Doesn’t miss a lot of tackles but ones he does lead to big plays, scores
2019: Groin – missed 3 games, hampered majority of the season
Way Too Early Projection
Cisco has high-end first-round talent. Depending on what he does in 2020, could easily be a top-15 pick or slide into the second round.
What to Watch in 2020:
Under new defensive coordinator Tony White, Syracuse will play a 3-3-5 defense, the system White learned coaching under Rocky Long for 8 seasons at San Diego State. It’s a unique system, built around speed to offset a disadvantage in size and fortunately, isn’t overly complex. Still, given the circumstances this offseason, players’ understand and comfort in a new system will be something to watch.
For Cisco, the free safety role isn’t all that different from Syracuse’s prior defense. He would also fit perfectly at the hybrid fifth DB position and since he’s played all over the last two years, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him in a different role. The most defining aspect of the 3-3-5 and what might be the greatest change for Cisco, is the blitz. Syracuse will be blitzing non-stop in 2020, from all angles and with every position. Rushing ins’t something he’s done a lot of, but it’s absolutely something that he’s suited for.