As we approach the start of camp for the Syracuse Orange football team, it’s time to dig in and look at the position groups. Up first, quarterbacks.
Don’t look now but Syracuse will enter camp with three four-star recruits in the quarterback room. All three originally signed with SEC programs, but they’ve found their way north and the Orange might have some depth behind their starter.
That starter is pretty likely Garrett Shrader. The senior took a big step forward last year completing 64.7% of his passes for 2,640 yards with 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, He added another 453 yards and 9 TD’s on the ground helping Syracuse get back to a bowl game. It looked like he was more comfortable in Robert Anae and Jason Beck’s offense.
Shrader still had issues with locking onto his first read and then holding onto the ball too long if that option wasn’t open. It will be interesting to see if time watching spring practice helps Shrader in that area, but he’ll also need receivers other than Oronde Gadsden to get open off the line.
Behind Shrader is Carlos Del Rio-Wilson. The Florida transfer appeared in seven games, making one start. He completed 22 of 51 passes for 342 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. CDRW came on in relief against Notre Dame and was 11-22, but he struggled in his first start the following week at Pittsburgh. With Justin Lamson’s transfer to Stanford, CDRW should have the inside track to the backup job to start the season. He’s not the runner that Shrader is, so we’ll have to see if he’s improved as a passer this fall.
The Orange added another SEC transfer with Braden Davis coming in this summer from South Carolina. Davis was a four-star recruit out of Delaware who had a lot of big-time offers out of high school. After former Syracuse commit LaNorris Sellers flipped to South Carolina, Davis was looking for a new opportunity. The 6’6 signal caller offers some intriguing upside but I think he’ll need time to adjust to Jason Beck’s system. The Orange could set up well for the post-Shrader era with multiple options.
Luke MacPhail enters his fourth season with the Orange. The walk-on has shown an ability to make throws in the spring scrimmages. Maybe he’ll get some time against Colgate in the opener, but his best contribution will come as the scout team QB this season.
It’s a weird feeling to head into a Syracuse football camp and feel like the Orange have some depth beyond the starter. Maybe Shrader makes it though the season healthy, but Syracuse hasn’t had that happen since Ryan Nassib’s senior season. With Beck assuming the OC role, fans should be excited about the potential at this position. If you’re a college football team with a good quarterback, it can cover up for deficiencies in other spots.