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Syracuse football: the quarterback situation just got interesting

A surprise transfer opens up more options for the Orange

NCAA Football: Florida at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange have struggled to find consistent quarterback play in the years after Eric Dungey’s departure. Tommy DeVito came and went, and Garrett Shrader did enough last year to stick around, but he has plenty of potential competition behind him.

That list expanded last night when former four-star Carlos Del Rio-Wilson announced that he is transferring to Syracuse from the University of Florida. Rio-Wilson redshirted in 2021 and did not play at all, bringing all four years of eligibility with him to SU. He was part of the notable Elite 11 showcase in 2020, earning best performer on day two of the three-day event and fifth best overall.

So how much does his addition affect the Orange QB room?

There won’t be an immediate impact, or at least we don’t expect there to be. All indications are pointing toward Shrader having to play himself out of the starting role. He got things done on the ground last season but will need to develop as a passer to keep his job long-term.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 Syracuse at Louisville Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Should Shrader fail to do so, Rio-Wilson has the potential to step up quickly. He showed off his arm plenty in high school, compiling 5,529 yards in the air with a 50/22 TD-to-INT ratio. He also added 899 rushing yards and 13 more TDs.

We got a look at some of the other Orange QBs during the Orange-and-Blue spring game. Justin Lamson was airing the ball out throughout the night and seemed to be the clear cut backup after that performance. However, he later suffered a knee-injury during practice which required surgery. There’s no timetable on his return, and it’s not out of the question for him to be out for the season.

Dan Villari also saw significant reps during the game but with less-ideal results. He threw an interception and didn’t have many positives to take to the film room. I will give the Michigan transfer the benefit of the doubt for now since he was playing against some starters, with Lamson taking on the second-string defense. He had very limited playing time with the Wolverines, completing one of three pass attempts for 26 yards.

The biggest question mark is JaCobian Morgan. Unlike the others, Morgan has a pair of starts under his belt. Back in 2020, he took over for Rex Culpepper late in the season, putting up 188 passing yards, a TD, and an interception in his first career start. He fared far worse the next week, getting shut out before being benched for the rest of the year. Morgan also had some action in the spring game but may end up being the odd man out in this crowded QB room.

Rounding out the redshirt freshmen is Luke MacPhail, a walk-on who has remained on the sidelines to this point.

The Orange will also add another QB to the roster in 2023: LaNorris Sellers, who 247 Sports and Rivals both rate as a three-star prospect. That further increases the chances of one of the aforementioned guys transferring out.

So all-in-all, there are a lot of young options to try and develop into a future starter. At the very least, there should be a little added pressure on the now-#6 to keep up his production.

If Shrader falls out of favor or gets injured, which one of the underclassmen do you think has the best shot of starting under center?