2021 Syracuse Football Positional Preview: Quarterbacks
As the 2021 football season nears closer, the Syracuse quarterback depth chart is as cluttered as it has been in years. From an established starter coming off an injury, Tommy DeVito, to a freshman who showed flashes of promise in JaCobian Morgan, and even a transfer from down south, Garrett Shrader, there are multiple arms fighting for playing time on an SU team looking to rebound from a dreadful 2020 campaign.
Last season, the Orange finished 1-10, ranked 17th worst in the country in passing yards per game and tossed 12 interceptions as a team. Only ten schools threw more. No matter who was under center last season, the production was bottom tier in the country. Looking towards the 2021 season, who could be the guy to lead a bounce back season for Syracuse?
Tommy DeVito, Redshirt Junior
DeVito looks the most likely to begin the season as QB1 in Syracuse. The redshirt junior has been with the program since 2017. He looked promising in backing up Eric Dungey in 2018 where he made eight appearances. DeVito threw for 525 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in his various appearances that year. Tommy took the reigns as the starter in 2019, leading the orange to a 4-7 record before being benched in favor of Clayton Welch in the season finale versus Wake Forest. That season DeVito tossed 19 touchdowns and five interceptions, a ratio that put him behind only Sam Howell on North Carolina and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. In 2020, DeVito began the season as the starter and kept the role until he suffered a season ending lower left leg injury in the fourth game of the year versus Duke. In the four games he did play, DeVito threw for 593 yards, four touchdowns and two picks. Syracuse is prepared for DeVito to be back at the helm when the season kicks off on September 4th at Ohio University. There is more pressure this year in the form of a crowded depth chart, than there has been on DeVito in the two years he’s started.
Garrett Shrader, Sophomore
Shrader is a transfer from Mississippi State, brought in by Coach Babers to apply some of that aforementioned pressure on DeVito. The 6’4” sophomore has not seen the field since 2019, his freshman year with the Bulldogs. In that season he appeared in ten games, starting four of them. He threw for 1,170 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. Shrader was one of only three FBS freshmen quarterbacks to throw for over 1,000 yards and rush for over 500. He did not see time at QB in 2020 and so he transferred. He has nice size for a D1 quarterback and has proven he can play at a high level in college football’s toughest conference. Shrader will provide competition for DeVito in camp and be waiting in the wings should Babers decide to make a switch at the Quarterback position.
JaCobian Morgan, Freshman
Morgan saw playing time as a true freshman in 2020 after DeVito’s injury and Rex Culpepper’s time playing did not work out. Another 6’4” quarterback with mobility, he and Shrader will likely compete for the backup role to DeVito. In four appearances including two starts versus Boston College and Louisville, Morgan threw for 285 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on just 31/49 passing. In his second career game he came in versus Wake Forest and led an immediate touchdown drive that caught the attention of SU fans and coaches alike. While still young, Morgan showed flashes of brilliance and can be seen and a promising quarterback with an ability to make plays with his feet.
Dillon Markiewicz, Freshman
The only other QB on the roster who has seen time, Markiewicz should slot behind Morgan, Shrader, and DeVito on the depth chart. Dillon has impressive size at 6’5” and 228 pounds. He entered late in the Louisville game and attempted one pass against Notre Dame last year. It may take a litany of injuries, or severe desperation from the coaching staff for him to see time, but the young freshman has time to develop, and given his size, he’ll be looked at as a promising prospect for the time being.
Luke MacPhail, Freshman
MacPhail walked on last year and did not see any time despite the multiple injuries and poor play. Unless anything changes drastically, he will be an end of the bench option for now. At 6’4” 229 pounds, he has nice size. MacPhail also had an impressive four-year career in high school, breaking records in the Boston area. He looks to be another promising prospect for the Orange.
Justin Lamson, Freshman
Lamson was a three star recruit out of the Sacramento area. He began his high school career as a safety before making the switch to Quarterback. In 2019 he was named NorCal Offensive Player of the Year. Lamson is a dual threat QB with exceptional athleticism. Expect this season to be his redshirt year with limited appearances, if any at all.
Syracuse begins its season on the road at Ohio on Sept. 4. The game is set for 7 p.m., but tune into WAER's coverage at 6 p.m. for a special hour long Countdown to Kickoff.