Countdown to Camp 2017

Countdown to Camp: With Dungey’s propensity to get hurt, who are the No. 2 and No. 3 options in the pocket?

Jessica Sheldon | Staff Photographer

As many as three SU quarterbacks have thrown at least 25 passes in season for the last three years. Syracuse knows it needs the depth, now it just has to figure out who that is.

UPDATED: July 31, 2017 at 1:58 p.m.

Syracuse football’s training camp begins July 30. Every day leading up to camp, The Daily Orange’s football beat writers will take a look at some of the upcoming season’s most pressing storylines, players and position battles. Read more on the Countdown to Camp here.

You’ve seen Zack Mahoney play quarterback before.

For the last few years, whether with Terrel Hunt or Eric Dungey, the Orange has at some point in the season needed to summon from the sideline a new signal-caller for at least a somewhat sizable portion of the season. Mahoney has thrown 117 and 135 passes, respectively, in the last two seasons while Dungey missed time. Whether he can remain on the field this season is among the team’s biggest questions.

Mahoney, a 6-foot-2, 217-pound senior, has appeared in some of Syracuse’s biggest games in the past two years. There he was with three touchdowns against Louisiana State in 2015 and with seven total touchdowns against Pittsburgh in last season’s last week. He’s proved capable enough to hang onto the backup job for now at least.  

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Daily Orange File Photo

If Dungey is forced to miss time, it would likely be Mahoney filling in again — unless the coaching staff decides to give its big-time prospect Tommy DeVito a go.

DeVito is, after Mahoney, one of only two quarterbacks currently on scholarship with redshirt freshman Rex Culpepper. Though, redshirt sophomore Clayton Welch will reportedly receive a scholarship soon. While past success with Dino Babers’ run-pass options and experience clearly places Mahoney ahead of the other two, the line between Culpepper and DeVito is blurrier.

12/30/16 2:46:36 PM -- Lake Buena Vista, FL, U.S.A -- Quarterback Tommy DeVito who has committed Syracuse to participates in the 2017 Under Armour All-America High School Football skills Challenge. -- Photo by Reinhold Matay USA TODAY Sports Images, Gannett ORG XMIT: US 135883 Under Armour foo 12/3 [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

Courtesy of Tommy DeVito

Neither has thrown a collegiate pass, and though Culpepper theoretically has a better understanding of Babers’ offense from helping run the scout team last season, it makes sense that DeVito would have an advantage over Culpepper for playing time. That’s because Babers recruited DeVito, an Under Armour All-American and Elite 11 Finalist, as his guy. Syracuse could redshirt DeVito, but the staff also needs to balance the QB of the future’s desire to play after he turned down other competitive, Power 5 offers to sign with the Orange.

If DeVito redshirts and the Orange needs a quarterback and neither Dungey nor Mahoney are available, expect Culpepper. If DeVito doesn’t redshirt, expect to see DeVito’s new era underway early.

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