News every Syracuse fan knew was possible in the back of their head came to reality over the weekend when it was announced that Justin Lamson, potentially the best, and easily the quarterback with the most potential on Syracuse’s roster entered the transfer portal. After playing well in the Spring Game and clearly outperforming Carlos Del Rio-Wilson in what was likely to be the battle for the backup job, maybe Lamson played too well, as is looking to start elsewhere.
Syracuse’s quarterback room has taken a lot of twists and turns over the past year and a half. First, it was the exit of Tommy DeVito when Garrett Shrader took over halfway through 2021, then Del Rio-Wilson transferred in at some point before the 2022 season, and in the 2022 Spring Game, Lamson looks like the future, but suffers a season-ending injury in practice. In the 2022 season, Shrader was excellent through six games, then started facing real defenses and the impact of his playing style took a toll, and he ended up missing multiple games, throwing Del Rio-Wilson into the fire, where he clearly was not ready.
Following that, Syracuse lost its highest rater recruit and quarterback of the future in LaNorris Sellers, who flipped to South Carolina (can you blame him?). A huge blow to the Orange’s 2023 recruiting class which finished in the 80s on 247 Sports and is another clear season SU finished where it does in the ACC each year for the most part.
That brings us to the offseason, where Shrader early on ended up having serious elbow surgery, and he has not returned to practice yet. That allowed Lamson, who recovered after his knee injury, to take first-team reps and show he is clearly the best thrower of the football on the Syracuse roster. He took advantage of it in the Spring Game, consistently throwing on time and on target to receivers, and working with the starters like Oronde Gadsden and Damien Alford.
Losing him is just another sign of Dino Babers continuing to focus on the present, and not the future. But, it’s understandable when you consider that Babers might be coaching for his job this season after the way 2022 ended in such a disappointing fashion. Lamson is the better option if you’re coaching for the future, but in the present, it’s still uncertain considering Shrader had a major surgery and isn’t even practicing yet.
You can’t blame Lamson for going to seek a starting job because that’s what every athlete and competitor wants to do. But, you can blame this coaching staff for not making him more of a priority, and if they truly were coaching to build a sustainable program, then Lamson would have been given a fair shot to challenge Shrader for the starting job, but that is clearly not the case. It’s another left hook to the jaw for the Dino Babers-era Syracuse football, and who knows how many this team can continue to get back up from.