Terrel Hunt is the ninth-rated junior quarterback in college football, according to CBSSports’ 2016 NFL draft prospect board. Since Hunt is in the top 10, that means that, as of right now, he has a realistic chance of being drafted after he graduates.
Hunt definitely had a successful sophomore season last year, but it seems a little early to be talking about him in an NFL context. SU’s quarterback needs to continue his development during his junior season to firmly put himself in the NFL conversation. If Hunt is as good as CBSSports’ staff thinks, then he will take a substantial and important step forward this year.
Looking at Ryan Nassib’s time at Syracuse and the careers of former ACC quarterbacks there is no denying that “junior year leap” QBs who get drafted experience. Nassib bettered his total passing yards, total touchdown passes, completion percentage and quarterback rating from year 2 to year 3 while at SU. He went from a solid college starter to an NFL scout.
Since Nassib is the prototypical pocket passer, it is important to look at past ACC duel-threat quarterbacks that compare better with Hunt’s style. In 2008, while playing for Virginia Tech as a sophomore, Tyrod Taylor split time under center with Sean Glennon. When Taylor fully took over as a junior, his quarterback rating shot up from 103.3 to 149.4 and Virginia Tech went 10-2, winning the Chik-fil-A Bowl vs. Tennessee. He too was able to elevate his game in his junior season. Taylor went on to be the eleventh quarterback drafted in the 2011 NFL draft that was stacked with talent.
Tajh Boyd, former Clemson QB and the thirteenth quarterback drafted in the 2014 NFL draft, improved in all of the same statistics Nassib did from his sophomore year to junior year as well. He also more than doubled his rushing yards. Taylor and Boyd will end up having had more inflated junior year statistics than Hunt because the two pro quarterbacks played for better college teams. But if Hunt is the real deal, he will have a similar statistic spike.
Hunt’s rating as a top 10 player in the nation for his class puts him in elite company. This upcoming season is his chance to show that he really belongs in the NFL draft discussion.
Posted by: Connor Morrissette