Check out this podcast hosted by Syracuse’s defensive trio

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When Washington, D.C.-based rapper No Savage refers to “mob” in the intro to some of his songs, he’s not referring to any group of friends. He was talking about people he thought were family.

The term “mob” is rapidly gaining popularity outside of music in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV). It became a phrase for the everyday environment that residents of the area, especially Washington, D.C., began to take seriously.

Syracuse linebacker Marlowe Wax, a Baltimore native, learned the term at home, and the Orange’s 2022 defense has adopted “mob” as its unofficial name. Since then, it’s become the name of a podcast that Wax co-hosts and has quickly gained SU’s fan base.

“We just felt like it was a tough word, we knew it was just for us, and everyone would agree with it,” Wax said of the podcast’s name.

“The Mob Podcast,” hosted by Wax, Caleb Okechukwu and Ja’had Carter, breaks down each game and discusses the lives of Syracuse players outside of football.

There are now six episodes, and the podcast is recorded after each game and airs every Wednesday. It features current and former Syracuse players as weekly guests.

According to his brother David, Okechukwu originally thought of hosting the podcast in 2020. During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Okechukwu, David and their brother Josh have been watching the “I Am Athlete” podcast — a show hosted by former NFL players with guests from a variety of industries.

David said what inspired Okechukwu the most was how the players discussed what they were doing off the field. Okechukwu’s father joked at the time that the brothers should start a podcast at home, but it never happened.

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“Caleb has always had great hosting skills when speaking in front of a large group of people,” says David. “Caleb is always the funny guy who wants to joke around the house, so seeing him host this podcast makes me proud that it’s going in the right direction.”

Okechukwu also watches several podcasts with Wax and Carter, such as “The Pivot” hosted by former NFL running back Thomas Jones. “I Am Athlete” and “The Pivot” showcased candid and open dialogue on assigned topics, which is exactly what the defensive trio wants to emulate on their own platforms.

Each episode is approximately 35-70 minutes long, starting with the games played the previous day. The players reminisced about the top games in the game, shared their thoughts on individual contributions and talked about some exclusive moments from the sidelines. That means being as “real” as possible, Wax said.

“It was interesting to see how they acted like brothers from the same mother, and I could see that they had a great bond with each other,” David said.

The trio also tried to make their voices heard outside the team, inviting Syracuse football alumni as guests. Recent alumni Zaire Franklin and Andre Cisco share their journey from the collegiate level to the NFL, both of whom have become defensive starters.

Syracuse went 5-0 for the first time since 1987, and Don McPherson was the guest of the week. McPherson discussed almost giving up playing football, especially when he wasn’t sure if he would be selected in the NFL draft.

“I didn’t really know who (McPherson) was until we met him,” Okechukwu said. “It’s really just his spirit and his way of life. He didn’t really let anything happen to him because he was ready for this moment.”

The second half of each episode always turns to more non-game-related dialogue. It can be as light as talking about their favorite pre-game music or their personal life.

In the second episode after the Purdue game, Okechukwu, Wax, Carter and the episode’s guest Oronde Gadsden II experienced Syracuse’s thrilling comeback for the first 20 minutes, before quickly pivoting to more personal conversations. Okechukwu mentions how a kid talks to him after winning and asks him “why are you?” about his motives for playing football. Each player answered the question and shared their family situation, from growing up in a single-parent household to dealing with the loss of a family member.

Since then, players have told a number of family stories that they believe have had a positive impact on the podcast’s fan base.

“We knew everyone was going to love it because people wanted to see us behind the helmet and really get to know us,” Wax said.

Wax knew the popularity of podcasts would reach where it is now. Combined with Syracuse’s 6-2 start and No. 22 ranking, “The Mob Podcast” perfectly reflects the closeness of the SU football team, Okechukwu said.

“What you see on the podcast is really just our off-camera relationship,” Okechukwu said. “The way we joke, the way we are in the locker room.”

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