Despite missing the final three plus games, Eric Dungey finished eighth in the ACC in both passing yards and touchdowns. Health aside, the senior-to-be has been much better than his eighth overall ranking shows. He’s a dynamic rusher along with his passing abilities that thrive in Dino Babers’ offense.
In a preview of the 2018 season, Athlon Sports ranked all 130 quarterbacks heading into the year. Last season, Dungey came in ranked 33rd by Athlon. But this time around, he took a solid leap. Here’s how Dungey lines up in the country, as well as against this year’s opponents.
Eric Dungey: 23rd
Dungey is one of the best quarterbacks on Athlon’s list and slots in at fourth in the ACC. A lot of this is contingent on his health. But if he can stay on the field for all of 2018, Dungey can certainly elevate above his 23rd overall ranking. A big question for him is who will step up and be his All-American caliber receiver? One has emerged each of the last two seasons, now it’s a group of young pass catchers that don’t have a lot of playing experience.
John Wassink, Western Michigan: 84th
Right out of the gate, SU faces a QB in the back end of college football. However, the great equalizer is that WMU’s head coach is Tim Lester, a former Syracuse assistant. Wassink is coming off a season-ending collarbone injury, but was playing well prior to going down. Don’t be surprised if he is a little better than 84th.
James Blackman, Florida State: 30th
Blackman came in after Deondre Francois went down with a season-ending injury last season that he may not be recovered from. Blackman struggled to replace the Heisman contender throughout the year, but did finish the season with 10 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions over the final four games. However, none of those were against ACC teams.
David Pindell, UConn: 112
Pindell is the worst quarterback that the Orange will face this season, per Athlon. However, this is a UConn team that runs the ball more than passes.
Kelly Bryant, Clemson: 20
You may remember Kelly Bryant from last season and wonder ‘how is Bryant ranked so high?’ He was not impressive in Syracuse’s colossal upset over Clemson last season. But Bryant came into the game hobbled and was eventually knocked out before the half with a concussion. 20th may be a little high for Bryant, but he is still one of the better QBs in the conference and the country.
Kenny Pickett, Pitt: 62
This will be Pickett’s first full season as a starter. He did make an appearance against Syracuse and completed his lone pass. Last year, Pickett only saw hefty action against Virginia Tech and Miami, but looked impressive in both games. Against the Hurricanes, Pickett racked up three total touchdowns en route to an upset win.
Chazz Surratt, UNC: 74th
The Tar Heels drop off after losing Mitchell Trubisky was apparent in 2017 after a 3-9 season. Surratt and Nathan Elliott may be splitting time at this point, or may be a part of a quarterback by committee by the time they come to the Dome in late October.
Ryan Finley, NC State: 13th
Finley is the best quarterback in the ACC and the best the Orange will see, according to Athlon. After sparingly seeing the field with Boise State, Finley has exploded over the last two seasons for the Wolfpack. His calling card is efficiency (he’s completed 60 percent of his passes in each of the last three seasons) and he doesn’t turn the ball over. While Dungey outperformed Finley statistically, it was Dungey who made a critical early turnover that turned into Wolfpack points. That’s all the difference in a one possession game.
Kendall Hinton, Wake Forest: 65th
Hinton comes in right smack in the middle of these rankings. He has barely seen the field after playing behind John Wolford, who torched the Orange last season. Wake Forest has a good offense, but it could take a step back with Hinton under center.
Jawon Pass, Louisville: 63rd
Pass is the weatherman of quarterbacks thanks to his last name. However, replacing Lamar Jackson are way too big of shoes to fill for the junior. He has yet to see significant time on the field, which is a growing trend for the back end of the Orange’s schedule. But by this point in the season, they may be acclimated to the full-time starter role.
Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame: 43rd
Wimbush didn’t wow anyone with his passing numbers, but his legs are a complete game changer. In his first season as a starter, Wimbush racked up 804 rushing yards to go along with 14 touchdowns on the ground. The Fighting Irish is going to be one of the toughest opponents on the Orange’s schedule this season. If Wimbush can figure it out through the air, then this could be the most daunting game of the year.
Anthony Brown, BC: 69th
Brown was a dynamic two-way player before going down with an injury. This is a Boston College team that is on the rise offensively with Brown and running back AJ Dillon. However, look for the Eagles to attack more with the run, which could come from the legs of Brown.