Eric Dungey was tossed into the fire last season as a true freshman after Terrel Hunt went down after a long rehab process. Dungey, a rather unknown dual-threat, three-star quarterback out of Oregon stepped onto the field and proceeded to lead the Orange to a 3-0 start in the Carrier Dome. His legs excited fans and he was actually able to effectively throw the ball downfield, something that Syracuse really hadn’t seen since Ryan Nassib graduated.
Unfortunately, the true freshman made a ton of rookie mistakes, especially when it came to his health. Dungey, as a competitor and a gamer, never knew when to give up on the play and took huge hit after huge hit as a result. He finished the season playing eight games, one of which was drastically shortened by a targeting penalty. He ended the year completing 59.7 percent of his passes for 1,298 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
The roller coaster of Eric Dungey’s career, however, is just beginning. Because of his immediate rise, it’s hard to believe that Dungey will be a true sophomore at the start of next season. That means that this week was his first taste of spring practice because he was still in high school a year ago, something pretty hard to believe.
Dungey has the challenge of adapting to a new system in his second year as quarterback and will face an enormous amount of pressure trying to lead an offense that is supposedly in the process of becoming one of the fastest in college football. If this wasn’t enough, there will also be pressure from incoming QB Rex Culpepper, whom many at the Fizz think could replace Dungey down the road if injuries start to pile up again. Dungey, realistically, could be one hit away from some real health issues down the road, and we all know about SU’s concussion policy.
In an effort to protect himself, the young quarterback has spent his offseason bulking up. He entered last season at 202 pounds, now weighs 216 and wants to open the year at 225. Dungey could be in luck, however, because Babers’ offense is predicated on the downfield passing game, not the option. While this is better for his health, it would be a tough argument that Dungey is better suited for an option offense. Regardless, all eyes will be on the rising sophomore in spring practice and ultimately the spring game down the road.
This spring, look for Dungey’s fit in Babers’ spread offense. Last season we learned how accurate his deep ball was with his numerous connections to Steve Ishmael. Now, his focus needs to be on the mid-range throws over the middle of the field as opposed to running, as that will become the new most important part of his game.