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Syracuse's Three-Star Phenom

Photo: Charles WainWright/

If interceptions were a form of martial arts, Syracuse safety Andre Cisco has rounded into black belt form.

Why Cisco is gifted in this domain can only be explained one of two ways; either the ball finds him, or he just has a knack for finding the ball. Either way, it has become clear these last two seasons, throwing the ball in Cisco's vicinity is a recipe for failure.

Last season, Cisco collected his first interception in week one against the Liberty Flames, in the third quarter of their contest. Watching the play unfold, it almost seemed like it was destined to happen; Flames quarterback Stephen Calvert throws a pass to receiver Khahleb Coleman running a crossing route. Before he is even able to finish his route, Cisco already had the ball taken away from him. It happened fast and there was nothing Calvert nor Coleman could do.

Generally, one would expect the high-level college football players to be five-star recruits. In Cisco's case, he was three-star recruit out of IMG academy. Yet right from his freshman year, he did not wait long to establish himself as arguably the program's greatest safety.

As a true freshman, Cisco's first career college interception, came in week one against the Western Michigan Broncos. A week later, he collected two against the Wagner Seahawks. Two weeks later, he collected another against the UConn Huskies. In just four weeks, Cisco had started his collegiate career with four interceptions. It became clear as the season continued, he had a natural knack for finding the ball.

By the end of this freshman year, Cisco not only tied of the nation's lead for interceptions with seven, he also tied the all-time freshman record for passes defended with 18. As an exclamation to his successful season, he was the only true freshman to receive All-America honors by the Walter Camp Football Foundation; the first ever by a true freshman in program history.

Cisco comes into this season, as the nation's active leader in interceptions. If his career suggests anything, quarterbacks may start making business decision before throwing the ball his way. For Cisco, getting interceptions is just what he does, and he's one of the best to ever do it.

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