As Syracuse Orange football fans prepare for the start of spring practice (soon!) there are a lot of questions about the quarterback position. Many fans are looking for Dino Babers to add a transfer to the position as some for insurance for Tommy DeVito, while others want a replacement for the returning starter.
Let’s start by putting this out there: DeVito’s 2019 season didn’t live up to expectations and while he didn’t commit a lot of turnovers, the ones he did often came at critical junctures, and there were numerous examples of questionable decisions when it came to extending plays. The quarterback is ultimately judged on the number of games the team wins, and he certainly shoulders some responsibility for the Orange falling short of bowl eligibility last year.
However when you look at the passing numbers of the Syracuse starting quarterbacks going back to Donovan McNabb, maybe you’ll look at DeVito’s season a little differently. A couple of things that jumped out at me when compiling this table were that McNabb’s production especially put in perspective of his passing attempts was ridiculous and Ryan Nassib’s senior year was underrated.
Syracuse QB’s since 1995
The last decade has brought about a different era for sure, but looking at the numbers here’s how DeVito’s 2019 stats rank:
Completion %: 3rd
Touchdown Passes: tied for 5th
Interceptions: tied for 3rd-lowest total
QB Rating: 7th
I think this season-ending evaluation from PFF College is a fair way to describe DeVito’s season.
102. TOMMY DEVITO – SYRACUSE
Preseason Rank: 70; Week 6 Rank: 105; Week 12 Rank: 110
Throwing for 19 touchdowns against five interceptions is one way to look at the season for Devito, but anyone who watched the whole picture should be unsurprised by his 11 big-time throws to 11 turnover-worthy pass split in 2019. He had some bad luck with receivers dropping balls at times, but he also had some good luck with defensive backs dropping interceptions just the same.
His best throw of the season came on a dropped touchdown against Clemson that could have changed the game. One of his worst throws of the season came on a dropped interception that would have certainly changed the (Western Michigan) game.
Next year, Syracuse will need DeVito to make more big-time throws. This might lead to more interceptions but when the Orange are in need of explosive game-changing plays, he’s going to need to deliver. The addition of OC/QB coach Sterlin Gilbert will hopefully push DeVito to take advantage of his arm strength and improve his decision making. Our hope is that Syracuse is more effective running the ball and providing a better use of the whole field when it comes to passing plays.
No matter what the 2019 season shows us that there should be some confidence in the Orange quarterback. With two seasons of eligibility left, DeVito has an opportunity to leave his mark on the Syracuse record book and we’ll see if he takes advantage and follows through on this promise.
Brick By Brick... We Build pic.twitter.com/lbet6KushL— Tommy DeVito (@tommydevito007) January 21, 2020