Syracuse University sophomore quarterback AJ Long will stay a sophomore for an additional year, as he told CNYCentral.com that he will redshirt the upcoming season after being forced into action a year ago once Terrel Hunt went down with a broken leg.
With Hunt back and running with the first team, as well as Austin Wilson returning for his third year in the program and the addition of junior college transfer Zach Mahoney, it makes sense for Long to sit out the 2015 campaign. Chances are, Long would not see the field this year with Hunt firmly entrenched as the starter, and with early accounts coming out of spring practices saying that, so far, Wilson has grabbed the second string role.
Last season, Long saw action in six games, throwing for 935 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions, adding a pair of rushing touchdowns as well while splitting time with Wilson and, at times, Mitch Kimble. Long was thrown into the fire last season, seeing his first action of the year against Florida State and completing 16-of-27 passes for 167 yards with two touchdowns and two picks against the Seminoles.
Long followed that up with a strong performance against Wake Forest, throwing for 171 yards at a completion percentage of 68.8% with a rushing score, and also threw for 307 yards against NC State. However, the true freshman struggled mightily in games against Clemson and Boston College, and didn’t fare much better in a loss to Pittsburgh.
The sophomore clearly has plenty of moxie and leadership skills, but at a generous listed height of 6-foot-1 and 177 pounds, the year off will do wonders in helping him get physically ready for consistent play at the Division I level.
Syracuse will also bring in Eric Dungey and Kenterius Womack as quarterback prospects this season, with both members of the recruiting class of 2015 expected to redshirt, and Womack an option to switch to either wide receiver or defensive back sometime down the road.