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Why Garrett Shrader’s success could change SU football

Don’t look now but Pro Football Focus’ team graded Garrett Shrader as the highest rated QB of the week after the beat down of UConn. He was PFF’s offensive player of the week for his 5 TD day. They noted his 94.5 overall grade because of a perfect 16/16 when there was no pressure, and his 237 passing yards on those throws. For the year (after 2 games), he has a 93.9 offensive grade, 92.9 pass grade, and an 80.4 run grade. Each one of those numbers is ranked in the top 6 of any QB in the nation.

A new coordinator, a new offense, and a small sample size has clearly helped launch Shrader into the conversation of the most productive QBs in the country. It’s obviously still early to believe when the dust settles in December he’ll be ranked alongside CJ Stroud and Bryce Young, but it doesn’t matter. What the Orange is proving is that this system can help elevate a QB.

Tommy DeVito was supposed to be the missing link, proof that Dino Babers “Orange is the New Fast” offense could work. That success was supposed to attract other QBs, and then SU could finally start building a winner. But DeVito never quite figured it out, and perhaps that’s because he never had the right support. But if Shrader does, that can make the DeVito mess evaporate.

When SU has been at its best, when it’s had national relevance, it’s almost always had a standout quarterback. Don McPherson, Marvin Graves, Donovan McNabb, and more recently, Eric Dungey. Dino’s charm has never waned, but the faith in his direction has. A big-play QB would change that.

Shrader’s success could attract any number of big QB recruits who are frustrated in their roles. The transfer portal is college football free agency now, and if a 4-star QB is stuck behind the starter or worried about a coaching situation, SU could become a destination. The opposite of DeVito’s situation could unfold for the Orange, where a top-rated QB decides Syracuse is where they can save their flailing career. This offensive scheme and this coaching staff could be seen as the place to exploit a QB’s talents.

Shrader likely won’t be able to keep up this run of production, but his overall success story could change the trajectory of this program.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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