As we get closer to National Signing Day, there are more whispers surrounding the quarterback position for Syracuse. Whether it is Penn State transfer Michael O’Connor, or Houston transfer John O’Korn, the Orange has been linked to multiple transfer QB’s. But given the Orange’s recent history with transfer quarterbacks, should SU want to get in bed with another transfer?
Yes, the Orange had a lot of trouble at QB this year, and much of it stemmed from injury with Terrel Hunt going down with a broken leg against Louisville, then a concussion to Austin Wilson before the carousel stopped on true freshman AJ Long. Now, before any potential transfer quarterback is even eligible to play for the Orange, Terrel Hunt would graduate and leave the program, Austin Wilson would be a senior and AJ Long a junior.
The Orange hasn’t had much success recently when it comes to transfer quarterbacks. The last two Greg Paulus and Drew Allen. Granted, the situation is different because those two were eligible to play right away, but the question remains, does the Orange want to get another transfer QB?
It doesn’t seem to make much sense to bring in one or two transfer QBs to go along with Long and Wilson. The Orange also has junior college transfer Zack Mahoney coming in.
When you look at what role the transfer quarterback, either O’Connor or O’Korn, would play, it is a little murky. With the uncertainty surrounding Hunt’s standing as starting quarterback, it is possible that Long or Wilson ends up starting next year. So Long or Wilson could have a year of starting under his belt by the time a transfer quarterback is eligible. Is it really worth all the trouble of supplanting someone already in place? While AJ Long had his problems, he showed signs that he could grow into the role of starting QB. His connection with Steve Ishmael in particular is an important one. If he continues to develop, than he may turn into a good college quarterback.
With the shaky history that SU has surrounding transfer quarterbacks and the stockpile that the Orange already has, maybe it isn’t in the team’s best interest to bring in a quarterback from another program. It takes time for a transfer to actually become acclimated with a new team, even if they get to practice with the team for a year before they play in a game. The problem is that quarterback is the most important position on the field, and if the quarterback is off even for just a couple of games, it can ruin a season and you are back at square one.
We have seen SU quarterbacks struggle the past few years. Whether it was Allen, Hunt, Wilson or Long, quarterbacks have struggled and prolonged struggle can ruin a whole season. If O’Korn or O’Connor comes to SU, becomes the starter and struggles, then the Orange is right back to where we could have been anyway with Wilson or Long.
Final thoughts on a possible transfer QB, there is a reason they are transferring. Not to say O’Korn or O’Connor can’t be a good quarterback, but they are clearly not wanted at their current schools. At Penn State, O’Connor is stuck behind a very good young QB in Christian Hackenburg, so his transfer is semi-understandable. But with O’Korn, he simply fell out of favor with the Houston coaching staff after performing poorly early this past season.
The question becomes, is the unknown you don’t have better than the unknown you do have? That is what the Orange faces with the possibility of O’Korn or O’Connor transferring into the program. Is what you don’t have—O’Korn or O’Connor—better than what you do have in Long or Wilson?
Posted: Seth Goldberg