Syracuse football went into 2014 with a ton of questions at quarterback. For the second time in five years, the program was going with a graduate transfer under center and the depth chart behind that QB -- Drew Allen -- looked considerably muddled.
But by the end of September, everything settled down, with Terrel Hunt ascending to the starting position. And by the close of the 2013 season, there was very little doubt who the Orange's top option was. Terrel Hunt had solidified himself as the #hardnosed, tough leader of Scott Shafer's #hardnosed, tough team.
But just because Hunt is virtually assured the starting job (no, Shafer won't commit to that just yet- but we all know), doesn't mean there aren't other passers on the roster. As we speak, SU has SIX players on the roster contending for spots on the QB depth chart. Who might those players be? We dive in below...
Terrel Hunt, (Redshirt) Junior: Starting 10 games in 2013 and winning seven of them, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better candidate to lead SU than Hunt. While he certainly experienced his fair share of struggles last season (we all remember that six-game streak without a touchdown pass, I'm sure), it was how he finished off his inaugural campaign that impressed fans and make him the overwhelming favorite to retain the starting job. Over his final two games -- both enormous Syracuse wins -- Hunt threw for 458 yards with two TDs, and tacked on another 164 yards and three scores on the ground. He's our guy, and the reason why many Orange fans believe this team can take a big step up on offense this season.
A.J. Long, Freshman: There are no guarantees with such a large group of talented reserves at QB, but Long believes himself to be the heir-apparent to Hunt's reign atop the depth chart. The highly-touted dual-thread made some waves when he arrived on campus, stating he was gunning for the starting job. But with that slight bump in the road with his new teammates behind him, you have to think he does have the inside track. As the unofficial "leader" of the class of 2014, he's certainly starting on the right food to lead this group down the road.
Austin Wilson, (Redshirt) Freshman: Wilson is fighting for that No. 2 spot on the depth chart along with Long, and while he certainly hasn't been as loud about his arrival, verbally, he's certainly made an impact with his play this spring. Wilson threw two scores in April's spring game, and his arm strength and smarts continue to be hot topics of conversation around the staff. The fact that he's so confident running the zone-read and can really put some air under the ball too all bode well for his chances to start in a few years.
Mitch Kimble, (Redshirt) Freshman: Kimble was on the roster last season and even had a brief chance at the starting quarterback job -- until that race wrapped up and he was redshirted. He looked great in the spring game, with a very pretty 15-yard touchdown pass, and coaches seem to believe he's still in the mix (which I buy -- so that means, yes, he's in the mix for the No. 2 spot). With a year in McDonald's offense already, he certainly knows it better than the two freshman, and his swift recovery from last year's back injury is also a positive sign for him. Don't count Kimble out -- even if you hear his name a bit less than his two competitors for the backup job.
Troy Green, (Redshirt) Freshman: As you may recall, Green transferred to Syracuse from Central Florida last spring and as a result, sat out the season. He's the son of Orange legend Tim Green -- which you probably also remember -- and that was at least part of why Troy decided to transfer. He's a walk-on, so there's no guarantee he's seeing the field any time soon, if at all. And based on the group in front of him.. yeah, seems unlikely.
Alin Edouard, Freshman: Yet another freshman passer, and yet, Edouard may stand a better chance than most to eventually elevate to the starting job. An early commit in October of 2013, Edouard has a ton of confidence in his abilities and contended with A.J. Long for the status of "face of the program/recruiting class" from the fall through today. He's a dual-threat with some great speed, but it's tough to say whether or not he can really get himself in the middle of the depth chart battle this year. His main competition have all had more time with the staff and playbook, but that doesn't mean he's out of it long-term.
Again, obviously Hunt's the starter, but who slots in after him is still very much a mystery. There's a lot of depth at this position, which is great. But the fact that they're all about the same age could also be a concern for transfers over time. Until then, though, we can continue to root them all on. And in the case of this year's team, hope that no one but Hunt sees the field until garbage time.
But what do you think? Which of the other five quarterbacks intrigue you the most? Any of them look like the future of Syracuse football? Share away in the comments.