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Syracuse Football Preview: Quarterbacks

Syracuse starting quarterback Garrett Shrader escapes pressure from the Minnesota defense in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Syracuse starting quarterback Garrett Shrader escapes pressure from the Minnesota defense in the Pinstripe Bowl.

As Syracuse football's season opener draws near, WAER Sports will release articles previewing position groups. A list of published articles can be found at the conclusion of this piece.

Quarterback is widely considered to be one of the most important positions in all of sports. With that being said, Syracuse has its starting QB already figured out. Garrett Shrader is entering his third season with the Orange. As far as the Mississippi State transfer’s support system goes, SU made some minor changes since last season to give Shrader minimal adjustment heading into the 2023 campaign.

Starting Quarterback

It is, without question, who the starting quarterback will be come September. Rising redshirt senior Garrett Shrader will hold the title as the lead signal caller for the Orange, but there were some eyebrows raised about his return time and his skill level coming back from surgery.

Back in February, the team announced that Shrader would undergo a procedure on his throwing arm and miss the entirety of spring practices. Shrader was taking snaps, but was placed on a pitch count for fall camp to ensure he did not re-injure himself upon his return.

The senior has not seen any action since the Pinstripe Bowl that took place in December. With that in mind, SU Head Coach Dino Babers wanted his QB1 to have a slow and steady return to training camp.

Despite the injury, Orange fans saw noticeable improvements from Shrader in the last year. From 2021 to 2022, Shrader went from throwing less than 1550 yards to more than 2600 yards. With the dramatic increase in passing, he tallied eight more touchdowns and only threw three more interceptions on 83 more attempts.

Shrader’s run-game took a dip in terms of yardage and scores. He rushed for over 700 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2021 to 450 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2022. With all of this being said, ‘Cuse fans now know from those previous two seasons that Shrader is capable of passing and rushing. Equipped with new weapons in his arsenal (including a new running back) and a fixed arm, Syracuse can expect Shrader to do a little bit of everything this coming season.

And before a down has been played in NCAA football this fall, Shrader has been placed on the Davey O’Brien Award and the Maxwell Award watchlists. The awards are given to the best quarterbacks in all of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the best all-around player in the NCAA, respectively.

Backup Quarterbacks

Syracuse caught a glimpse last year of its quarterback depth when Garrett Shrader went down with injury at the latter parts of the season. The then-redshirt freshman, Carlos Del Rio Wilson, had some bright spots as a replacement, but that spark was quickly extinguished.

In Del Rio Wilson’s stint as starting QB (which lasted about six quarters), the second-stringer completed 50 percent of his 22 passes against Notre Dame and then less than 35 percent of his 23 passes against Pitt. In both games, Del Rio Wilson only threw a combined one touchdown pass and rushed for just 12 yards in two losing efforts for the Orange.

A new face has also been added via the transfer portal, Braden Davis. The South Carolina transfer holds the third scholarship at quarterback for Syracuse. Davis was a former top quarterback prospect from Delaware and was named the Delaware Gatorade Football Player of the Year in high school.

The Freshman signal caller replaces Justin Lamson who was initially considered the second stringer before going down with a season ending injury at the start of the 2022 campaign. Lamson entered the transfer portal at the conclusion of spring camp and ended up at Stanford.

Quarterbacks Coach/Offensive Coordinator

In five years, Garrett Shrader has played under five different offensive coordinators. Jason Beck comes into 2023 as Syracuse’s OC after the team announced Beck’s new position last December. The well-experienced quarterbacks coach not only has a pre-existing relationship with Shrader, but also a familiarity with his role.

Beck was the quarterbacks coach at Weber State from 2009-2011, at BYU from 2013-2015, and at Virginia from 2016-2021. During his stint with the Cavaliers, Beck helped develop the LA Ram, Bryce Perkins. In two years at UVA, Perkins held the program's career total offense record (7,910) and also set the single-season passing record with over 3,500 yards. Beck goes from being the Orange’s quarterback coach last year to both the quarterbacks’ coach and the offensive coordinator this year.

The BYU alum has had some experience before as OC, but only for one year with Division II program Simon Fraser in 2012. During his time at SFU, Beck took a last place offense in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (in total offense, scoring offense, and passing offense in 2011) and turned it into the league's best in those three categories during the team's first full season in NCAA Division II.

2023 Syracuse Football Preview Articles
Coaching Staff
Special Teams
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Offensive Line
Defensive Backs