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Ever since Syracuse University lost Donovan McNabb after the 1998 season, the Orange football program has been looking for the next great quarterback. In nearly 20 years since McNabb graduated, the University has had a lot of mediocrity at the position, save for a few good years with Ryan Nassib at the helm. The Orange currently have a strong group of young signal callers, with incoming freshmen like Eric Dungey and Kenterius Womack along with future enrollee Rex Culpepper, but the staff is still looking for its next great field general.

As it turns out, the next great quarterback for the Syracuse Orange football team could wind up following in Donovan McNabb’s footsteps in more ways than one.

Hendon Hooker has been on Syracuse’s radar for awhile, earning an offer for football earlier this spring. The 6-foot-3 dual threat QB also boasts offers from Clemson and East Carolina, and more are sure to come for the North Carolina native who was recently named one of the top 300 players in the class of 2017 by Scout.com. But where he sets himself apart, and where he gains similarities to McNabb, is in his basketball prowess.

In addition to being an elite quarterback prospect, Hooker is also a Division I hoops prospect, already sporting an offer from North Carolina A&T. The athletic shooting guard is currently making the AAU rounds playing for Team Felton, and if he were to wind up at Syracuse he could solve a depth problem that the Orange hoops team might be facing thanks to NCAA sanctions. With a limited number of scholarships, having a football player who also happens to be able to light it up on the hardwood as another guard could be a big plus in his recruitment. It hasn’t happened recently, but Syracuse has shown a willingness to have a football player walk on to the basketball team. McNabb is the most famous example, but certainly not the only one.

But where Syracuse would likely need him more is on the gridiron, where the athletic, dual threat quarterback shows a strong ability to break exciting runs and throw it deep, just like McNabb in both cases. Hooker shows good open field elusiveness, and while his throwing motion can kind of dip down to more of a 3/4 delivery now and then, he displays a good ability to connect on throws of all ranges – short, intermediate, and deep – with good strength and accuracy. While his ability to make all manner of throws is impressive, it’s his superior athleticism that truly sets him apart.

Syracuse is in good shape with several top quarterback prospects in the class of 2017, including Jack Coan and Kasim Hill. Hooker could conceivably wind up being the best of the bunch, and again, could be an even bigger help to the Orange with his potential as another guard in Jim Boeheim’s rotation once football season comes to a close.

While 2017 is still a long way away, Hendon Hooker is most definitely a name to keep an eye on. He could quickly become one of Syracuse’s top targets in next year’s recruiting cycle.

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