On this past week’s Fizz Radio episode, myself and Brad Klein discussed who would be the starting quarterback for SU in 2021. Head coach Dino Babers has supplied his roster with plenty of options.
But the bigger question is, are any of these guys actually good?
Tommy DeVito can return for his redshirt senior season. In the four games he played this past season before suffering a leg injury against Duke, DeVito threw for nearly 600 yards and four touchdowns. For a starting Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback, those are pretty measly numbers.
He seemingly has the upper hand on quarterbacks returning from last year’s roster. Freshman Dillon Markiewicz took snaps in just two games this season, throwing a grand total of one pass. That pass fell incomplete. While there was some clamoring for Markiewicz throughout the season, he didn’t play a role in SU’s offense.
Fellow freshman JaCobian Morgan played a far bigger role, eventually taking the starting quarterback job from Rex Culpepper. In three games where he threw a pass, Morgan threw for 285 yards and a couple of touchdowns. He also had two picks. Perhaps with a full offseason in the program, Morgan could be the best option for SU. Thrown into the lineup as a first-year quarterback still learning the system, Morgan had similar stats to DeVito.
Outside of the rising sophomores, there is a possibility Babers pegs incoming freshman Justin Lamson as the starter right away. While Lamson is a dual-threat quarterback — which seems to mesh in SU’s attack — it seems unlikely he’d start immediately. He’d essentially have to beat out three quarterbacks returning from last year’s roster, including a multi-year starter and a freshman looking to build off of a somewhat promising start to his career. Lamson would also need to outplay an incoming transfer.
Garrett Shrader seems to be Fizz Nation’s pick to start next season:
But the transfer from Mississippi State switched schools in large part because he switched positions under Mike Leach. After completing over 50% of his throws, eight touchdown throws and six end zone rushes in 2019, Shrader was switched to wide receiver this season. The six-foot-4 receiver ended up catching just one ball for eight yards in 2020.
Is a quarterback-turned receiver-reversed to quarterback again SU’s best option? It might be. Shrader dual-threat abilities give Syracuse a multi-dimensional element it’s been lacking since Eric Dungey graduated. He’s not the only quarterback that can pick up yardage with his feet.
But just like Lamson, Shrader will have to learn the offense. That’s an advantage for the established players. Now, it’s time for Babers to figure out which one of his quarterbacks is the most talented.