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Eric Dungey leans on identical circumstance, humble persona to take reins of SU offense

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ One team scored 40-plus points and the other was shut out in Eric Dungey’s first snaps as a freshman quarterback, a game he found himself in because of an injury to the starter.He was 15, manning the Lakeridge (Oregon) High School offense against powerhouse Canby (Oregon) in 2011. Lakeridge lost 41-0, forcing a play-in game just to make the 32-team state tournament.“That was getting thrown into the wolves right there,” Dungey said. “But it kind of prepared me for what this is right now.”What this is right now is what nobody expected.Fifth-year senior quarterback Terrel Hunt tearing his Achilles just seven minutes and 27 seconds into the season. A true freshman taking the reins, surrounded by intrigue and uncertainty, guiding Syracuse to a 47-0 win against Rhode Island. A semi-circle of cameras pinning the 19-year-old up against a wall as he gives brief, soft-spoken answers about prepping for a conference opponent just four days after being thrust onto the Carrier Dome turf.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNobody in Dungey’s inner-circle thought he’d play this year – his mom, dad and high school coach were certain he’d redshirt. At 6-foot-3, his hush is a surprise, his humility an added bonus. Coaches rave about his windmill dunks on the hardwood and mobility on the gridiron. A versatile athleticism complemented by an aura that draws respect from elders he now has to lead.A year ago, Dungey was 2,798 miles away without his name attached to a college, starting a senior season in which SU offensive coordinator Tim Lester needed to see polish. Now, the keys to a reformed offense lie in his hands as Syracuse tries to return to relevance.“Eric Dungey has paid his dues,” fifth-year senior center Rob Trudo said. “He’s our quarterback now.”Syracuse wasn’t going to take a quarterback in the 2015 class, but Lester expanded the search once three-star QB holdover Alin Edouard’s arrival became cloudy. Recruiting director Eric White scoured major recruiting sites and compiled a list of the top 150 uncommitted signal-callers. Lester watched film on each one and Dungey’s tape stuck out.On a visit to Syracuse during last season, Dungey watched practice from the sideline. Scott Shafer approached him to survey his thoughts, and Dungey astutely responded along the lines of, “So coach, ‘Seattle’ is double slant and ‘Fargo’ is clear-out flat,” clarifying what plays coincided with certain calls.“Most young men would say, ‘Oh yeah coach, everything looks good,’” Shafer said. “Right then, I knew, hey, he’s a locked-in guy that watches the game differently than most young people.”That observant, intellectual demeanor lends itself to Dungey’s placidity off the field. His mother, Cindy, says he’s always had a quietness to him, and his father, Tim, says he won’t take over a room at first.Even after heroics, Dungey is tame. He’d just thrown a game-winning touchdown on the last play against Lakeridge’s rival his junior year. Facing the media postgame, Dungey only gave credit to his coaches and the opposing players.“We all kind of followed suit,” Dungey’s high school friend, Andrew DeMonico said. “That was one of the best examples of leadership I’ve ever seen in a high school kid ever.”Speaking with reporters Tuesday, one of Dungey’s answers centered around staying focused for his teammates. Another around Lester and Shafer giving him confidence. Other questions elicited immense praise for Hunt as a mentor and how all to expect on Saturday is for him to do the best for his teammates.Cliché, but by the book. No answer given with any aggression, just a tranquility masking his football flare.“No one wants a quarterback coming in running their mouth right away,” said Taylor Barton, Dungey’s private quarterback coach. “You’ve got to go earn your stripes, and that’s what Eric’s done.”Between the hashmarks is a gunslinger that holds his high school records for most single-season passing yards (2,395), passing touchdowns (22) and career passing yards (10,124). Outside those, a dart with cleats – initially hidden by his height – that ran for 982 yards and 15 touchdowns last year.SU coaches voice full confidence in not having to scale back the playbook, but even Dungey didn’t think he’d become immersed in it this quickly.“When we were visiting with the coaches during all of our visits and what not, (redshirting) was the plan,” Cindy said. “I think Eric had embraced that because he saw the value of having the opportunity to get another year of education paid for.”Even though she thought redshirting was still a possibility as recent as last Friday afternoon, Cindy was planning to fly from Oregon to Syracuse for the game. Eric told her not to – even if he got in at the end of a blowout – since the airfare was too steep. It was the first football game of his she’s ever missed, but now she’ll be seated in the Dome bleachers when her son trots out for his first collegiate start on Saturday.Tim wishes Hunt was still the starter and Eric was redshirting, acknowledging his son will be humbled in the coming weeks, but knowing he can handle it. Lakeridge head coach John Parke expected his former prodigy to get in for the last 15 seconds against the Rams once he was named the No. 2, but now finds himself hoping an increased bulk just isn’t too much.A situation pulled from the realm of the unrealistic is now countered with cautious optimism.Before playing Rhode Island, Lakeridge principal Jennifer Schiele texted Dungey reminding him to slide when he escapes the pocket, which Lester noted he did. Parke mentions how even as a freshman, Dungey served as a role model to older players and how it mimics what he’ll be tasked with.His Lakeridge days have relevance now, just on a bigger stage. It’s a platform the teenager with peach fuzz creeping up his neck now finds himself at the center of, and one that showcases him at the helm of a new era in Syracuse football.“I’ve always been more of the, ‘Let’s see what happens; if it happens, great,’ all the way through high school,” Tim said. “To be honest with you, it’s surreal.” Comments Published on September 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img read more

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