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Syracuse football: Justin Lamson pulling away in spring Quarterback battle

The sophomore is making up for lost time with this prime opportunity.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Rutgers at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Around this time last year, Justin Lamson was slinging the ball all over the Dome turf for the Syracuse Orange.

During the 2022 spring game, the freshman showed off his arm strength and remarkable accuracy, hitting several Orange receivers in stride for long gains and a pair of TDs. Granted it was just one scrimmage and mostly against backup defenders, but the fundamentals were on display - as was a potential foundation for the future of the QB position.

Then came the letdown - Lamson sat out the entire 2022 season with an injury, seemingly losing the momentum he was building to become Garrett Shrader’s successor. Carlos Del Rio-Wilson showed some flashes of his own potential in his absence, eventually getting his first career start in Pittsburgh. CDRW didn’t have much luck there, and things went back to square one.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 17 Purdue at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Thanks to Shrader sitting out this spring, Lamson had the chance to play catch up and re-establish himself as the number two option at QB. After three weeks of the five-week camp, it’s apparent that’s exactly what he’s done.

Lamson is now exclusively practicing with the 1st-team (in open sessions, at least), while Del Rio-Wilson has been relegated to the reserves. Justin started off as the first QB to take the field for reps, and that hasn’t changed to this point; the difference is he’s now out there longer than CDRW, and for more situations.

The issues that he had at the beginning of camp are disappearing by the day. His early struggle with leading receivers seems to have been some rust that he’s since shaken off. In the most recent practice, Lamson connected with the likes of Oronde Gadsden, D’Marcus Adams, and Trebor Pena for consecutive TDs during 1-on-1 drills. While SU’s top defenders played man coverage, each of the three were able to catch a pass in stride and keep going straight into the end zone.

The impressive thing is that of the three, only Gadsden really got good separation, yet the balls were perfectly placed back-to-back-to-back. Trimmed-down practice or not, that’s encouraging to see.

He’s also quickly developing a good connection with LeQuint Allen - another positive considering the RB is very likely to still be here in 2024. Allen has been a good short-yardage pass catcher as well as versatile in the backfield, running in every angle instead of just right up the gut. Add to the fact that Lamson looks mobile enough to scramble when needed and the duo could end up working together in the future.

Finally, the injury issue appears to be well behind Lamson. At this point, all he’s concerned about is more preparation.

“We’re just trying to make each other better,” Lamson said on Tuesday. “I’m as close as it gets (to being 100%). I’m all good.”

What are your thoughts on the Syracuse Orange QB situation?