The best Quarterback that all the experts and insiders have overlooked, is a three star recruit from Oregon who somehow last season found himself at Syracuse University, where he played in 8 games and put the entire College Football world on notice.
Eric Dungey was absolutely dynamite last season, where after outright winning the backup role as a Freshman he was unexpectedly thrust into the starting lineup in the season opener, and ultimately demonstrated the most poise and ability that Syracuse has had at the position since Donovan McNabb.
Yes Ryan Nassib was excellent in his 4 year career with the Orange, breaking the school total passing yards record (9,190), pass completions (791), and passing yards per game (201.3) - numbers that are nothing to sneeze at and undoubtedly gives Dungey big shoes to fill. Yet at the same time Dungey is far more multidimensional, with the potential to dominate his opponents with his legs just as well as his arm, in which case his stats last season - 1,298 yards on 105 completions out of 176 attempts (59.7%) with 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions - were in addition to his 351 yards out of 91 carries on the ground, where he tallied 5 more touchdowns and officially became a human highlight reel.
His success however didn’t entirely translate to more W’s in the Win/Loss column, as the Orange had another sub par season that led to the dismissal of Head Coach Scott Shafer, where Dungey himself was debilitated by head injuries that left him out of the lineup for 4 games. He did start the year 3-0 however, and throughout the duration of the season provided a spark that gave the Syracuse community a reason to believe again. In the upcoming 2016 season the Orange have a new Head Coach in Dino Babers, yet the high expectations for the team mainly revolves around one man - the West Coast gunslinger that’s already taken the Empire State by storm, who seems to be symbolized as the Sunshine kid destined to lead Syracuse to brighter days ahead.
For those wondering how all this happened so quickly, let’s recap Dungey’s rise through the ranks over such a short period of time. By his Sophomore year at Lakeridge High School Dungey was already the full time starter, who had long prepared for the moment by training with the Barton Football Academy, led by Taylor Barton who had already trained the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Jake Locker, Joey Harrington and dozens more who flourished in College Football and made it to the NFL. Barton has since been quoted by saying “Dungey has the greatest upside of any Quarterback I’ve ever worked with,” and his resume in High School certainly supports that.
In his Junior year Dungey threw for 2,783 yards and 23 TD’s through the air, with 909 yards and 15 more TD’s on the ground. He followed that up his Senior year with 2,395 yards and 22 TD’s with his arm, with 982 yards and 15 TD’s on foot, highlighted by an incredible 79-63 win in the State Playoffs where his team had to overcome a 21-0 deficit.
Dungey finished his career with 7,381 passing yards, 65 touchdown passes, and 41 rushing touchdowns, and when he wasn’t on the gridiron he also dominated the competition in basketball, baseball, and track and field for good measure. It was then Syracuse decided to put their name in the hat with Colorado State, Wyoming, UNLV, Harvard, and Yale, which upon a personal visit from the coaching staff and positive chemistry between himself and Terrell Hunt (the Starting QB at the time who later ruptured his Achilles Tendon in the first game of the season), led to Dungey’s commitment to take his talents to Upstate New York.
In his first appearance vs Rhode Island, Dungey went 10 of 16 for 114 yards and 2 TD’s in relief of Hunt, with a very convincing performance in which he never really looked back. The following week he dismantled Wake Forest throwing for 220 yards and 2 TD’s on 13 attempts, and was on pace to exceed that vs Central Michigan before he took a cheap shot that would define the rest of the year. Dungey was 3 of 6 for 93 yards and a TD with 50 yards on 4 carries and another TD when Central Michigan’s defensive end Mitch Stanitzek left his feet and tried to take Dungey’s head off. For the dirty play Stanitzek was ejected from the game and later publicly apologized to Dungey and to Syracuse, as the hit would not only take Dungey out of that game - but he also wasn’t available for their nationally televised game vs LSU.
When Dungey returned vs South Florida he may have been the only member of the Orange who got off the plane, accounting for 3 TD’s in a game where Syracuse was flat out embarrassed in every way. It was then Dungey realized he had to put the team on his back, as after a 3-0 start they were on a 2 game losing streak, and a major opportunity awaited as they marched into Charlottesville, Virginia. What turned into a Triple Overtime Classic, Dungey tallied up 3 more TD’s in an inevitable heartbreaking loss, yet none were more special than the signature moment when Dungey leaped over a standing Cavalier at the goal line - a fearless move in which he sacrificed his body for the team and subsequently became a viral sensation.
The next week Dungey cooled off by comparison and the Orange lost to Pittsburgh’s last second field goal, however Dungey once again threw for over 200 yards and 2 TD’s, however that game was marred by 2 critical interceptions. Dungey also got hit hard in this game and had to leave for a play, yet he stayed in it disputing any naysayers who may have thought he couldn’t take a hit. It was just that the hits kept adding up, and after a rather pedestrian outing vs Florida State where he ran for 2 TDs but only managed 120 yards through the air, Dungey finished his season getting knocked out of the game late in the 4th Quarter of a blowout loss to Louisville - a victim of another head injury which has become a dangerous theme in professional sports and the worst omen that you can cast on a young dynamic quarterback.
So Syracuse was wise to shut him down, and now a year later are embarking on their highest anticipated season in recent memory. Dungey finished the season with 1,649 yards of offense which places him 3rd in Syracuse’s all time Freshman list, with 16 total touchdowns that was only 2 short of Donovan McNabb’s Freshman record of 18. He accounted for at least 2 TD’s in 7 of their 8 games, and was second on the team in rushing yards and actually led the team in rushing TD’s, all the while showing precision with his arm that has designated him the undeniable Quarterback of the future.
If there was any doubt Dungey put that to the rest with dominance this Spring, in one game going 27-33 for 296 yards and 7 TD’s against his teammates, playing 10 pounds heavier with hopes of being 225 by the season opener. He’s vowed to be smarter about taking hits but honestly he shouldn’t deviate from his game too much, as his combination of courage and talent is what makes him special, and once he learns to better protect himself he’ll be nothing short of unstoppable. As of right now Athlon Sports has Dungey ranked as the 46th best Division 1 Quarterback, yet as the season gets underway he’s sure to gain traction on everybody’s list, as he picks up where he left off and continues to put Syracuse University back on the football map.