Nobody in Central New York could possibly have seen this coming two years ago. Before Syracuse’s week 4 clash with Liberty in the 2021 season, Tommy DeVito, who had been SU’s starting QB throughout 2019, the start of 2020 (injury), and the first three games of 2021, was benched in favor of Garrett Shrader. He never saw the field in an Orange uniform again as he entered the transfer portal following week 6. A little over two years later, he is the starting QB for the New York Giants as they make a late push for the NFL Playoffs. Who on Earth saw that coming?
When DeVito left Syracuse, he wound up in Big Ten country at Illinois. He was solid for the Illini, but nothing spectacular. DeVito threw for just over 200 yards a game along with 15 touchdowns, but only four interceptions over 13 games. During his final hurrah in Central New York, he threw two picks in just three contests. DeVito went undrafted last April, but the Giants thought they had a diamond in the rough, and so far he’s proving them right. On Monday night against the Packers, DeVito became the second undrafted rookie since 1967 to complete more than 80% of his passes in a game, leading to an NFC Player Of The Week honor. Where the heck was this during his time in Syracuse?
DeVito’s talent was never an issue as he was a consensus 4-star recruit coming in. The issue was the talent around him. With the exception of maybe Taj Harris, he never had a true offensive weapon. Sean Tucker’s breakout season unfolded as DeVito left the program, and pass-catching weapon Oronde Gadsden II didn’t breakout until after he left. Additionally, he had to deal with one of the worst offensive lines among Power Five schools throughout his time as the starter. It felt like more often than not, DeVito was running for his life while he was under center. A major factor in DeVito’s struggles in Central New York is the well-documented recruiting failure from year to year.
Finally, there has been chatter about an old friend’s role in this fiasco.
As much as we love Coach Jack’s relentless optimism, Mr. Cassillo may have a point. If DeVito is thriving in the NFL, let alone for a big-market team like the Giants, why couldn’t Babers crack the code with him? And if he had Brown as his head coach, helping in recruiting as well, how much different would his legacy be? It’s a very complicated set of questions, with numerous butterfly effects stemming from them. But seeing what he’s doing with the Giants, we can’t help but wonder what could have been.
If Syracuse fans (with the exception of those who are also Giants fans) are feeling mixed emotions from Tommy DeVito’s success, that’s the correct feeling. You’re very happy to see him finally tap into his potential, but at the same time there’s frustration about what might’ve been. With the Giants suddenly in the hunt for the playoffs, this saga should only get more interesting.