Whether it’s fair or not, quarterback is often viewed as the most important position in football. Some might call it the most important position in all of sports. Over the last 15 years, Syracuse has often struggled to put playmakers at the quarterback position, which has been a big part of the team’s struggles over that span. With so little depth and experience at quarterback once Terrel Hunt graduates, it stands to reason that the position will be a priority in the recruiting class of 2016.
So who are some of the guys Syracuse is looking at in that class? Well, there are a couple quarterbacks that the Orange have a very good chance of landing, and a few more who are long shots, to say the least. Heading into the 2016 season, if no one leaves and if no one else is added from the junior college ranks, the quarterback position will look like this:
R-JR Austin Wilson
JR AJ Long
JR Zach Mahoney
R-FR Eric Dungey
R-FR Kenterius Womack
That’s also assuming that everyone stays put at the quarterback position, most notably Kenterius Womack. Womack certainly has the physical talent, as well as prior experience, to switch to either defensive back or wide receiver. You also have to figure that, as impressive as Mahoney’s film was, it’s probably a little unrealistic to expect a walk-on, even of the preferred variety, to ever see significant snaps.
So who are the Orange looking at moving forward to round out the quarterback corps?
Anthony Brown is probably the top prospect that Syracuse has a legitimate chance of landing, and the 6-foot-2, 185 pound signal caller from New Jersey has ties to the Orange already. Brown works with former Syracuse quarterback Madei Williams, now a private quarterback coach in the Garden State, and put up some gaudy numbers last season for St. John Vianney. Brown is a 3-star prospect according to Rivals, and 247 views him a little more highly, rating him as the No. 13 dual threat quarterback in the country. His offer list isn’t particularly extensive yet, with the only real “name” schools other than Syracuse to have offered being Northwestern and Temple. However, interest is most definitely picking up in Brown, who will remain a priority for Scott Shafer and his coaching staff.
If there’s a “sure thing” in terms of getting a commitment, it would appear to be local signal caller Jack Brotzki, who slings it for CBA. The 6-foot-3, 210 pound pocket passer is rated as a 2-star prospect by Rivals, and has an even more direct connection to Syracuse than does Brown: his dad works at Syracuse University. Right now, Brotzki is still awaiting interest from schools outside of CNY, with the offer from Syracuse being the only one on the table at the moment. How Brotzki fits into Syracuse’s plans depends in large part on what kind of offense Tim Lester winds up installing, but it’s pretty clear he’s certainly from a different mold than the 2015 quarterbacks, Dungey and Womack, who are much more mobile. At this point, Brotzki may wind up at Syracuse but feels like more of a plan B option for the Orange.
THE PIPE DREAMS
At this point, there’s virtually no way Maryland signal caller Dwayne Haskins winds up in Orange. About the only thing that could trigger that particular turn of events hinges entirely on whether or not Robert Washington commits to the Orange, and if Haskins decides he wants to play collegiately with his good friend and Team USA teammate. Haskins has offers from virtually everyone, and is widely considered one of the top quarterback prospects in America.
Another complete long shot, Syracuse is probably already out of the running for the Bergen, New Jersey native who, like Haskins, can go basically anywhere to play his college ball and is considered one of the top QB recruits in America. The 6-foot-4, 195 pounder is leaning toward Ohio State right now, with Rutgers and Tennessee rounding out his top three. Syracuse was in to visit him about a month ago, so the Orange are certainly showing continued interest. As long as Bobby Acosta and the rest of the staff are going after the kid, we can at least dream of landing someone of his caliber.
OTHER NAMES TO REMEMBER
The 6-foot-3 signal caller from Henrietta, New York has camped at Syracuse, and is getting interest from schools like Boston College and Rutgers, in addition to the Orange. So far, he’s still waiting on his first official offer.
Syracuse hasn’t offered the 6-foot-2, 175 pound Alpharetta, Georgia native, but he does already boast offers from Oregon State, Wake Forest, and Illinois. With Syracuse’s recent interest in Georgia prospects, along with some interest they’ve already shown on Moore, he could wind up with a Syracuse offer before long.
The 6-foot-4 quarterback from Oswego, Illinois doesn’t have a Syracuse offer yet, but he’s obviously in the middle of an area Scott Shafer’s staff likes to mine for talent. Frank has offers from Illinois, Minnesota, and Vanderbilt, and is also getting interest from Michigan and Michigan State, in addition to the Orange.
Obviously, more names could wind up being added to this list, but it’s a solid jumping off point as we gear up for summer recruiting. Brown appears to be far and away the top priority at quarterback for the Orange, so watch for Bobby Acosta to work his New Jersey magic and try to get a commit early from the protege of former Orange quarterback Madei Williams.