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Former Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito is transferring to Illinois, he announced on Twitter late Friday night.
DeVito transferred from Syracuse in mid-October after losing the starting quarterback job weeks earlier to Garrett Shrader. DeVito said it was a “shock” to him when head coach Dino Babers told him that Shrader would be the new signal caller before the Orange’s game against Liberty.
DeVito was SU’s starter in 2019 and for the early portion of the 2020 season before suffering a season-ending leg injury against Duke. He started the Orange’s first three games of the 2021 season, leading Syracuse to a 2-1 record, before being benched. Shrader led SU to a 3-6 record after becoming the starter.
A day after the announcement that DeVito would transfer, his longtime trainer, Leon Clarke, spoke with The Daily Orange. Clarke said DeVito initially didn’t want to leave the program after being benched, but it became clear during Syracuse’s 17-14 loss to Clemson on Oct. 15 that DeVito wouldn’t receive snaps again. SU’s offense also didn’t fit DeVito’s skill set — which is based around his strong pocket-passing ability — after wide receiver Taj Harris transferred and there were several injuries along the offensive line, Clarke said.
“You’re playing with all the different pieces to the puzzle, and you’re trying to put them in to get them to fit,” Clarke said. “And then you’re also trying to run your system. And you’re saying, well, we want to play fast. We want to play fast. And how can (you) get to play fast when (DeVito’s) playing with spare parts?”
— Tommy DeVito (@tommydevito007) December 11, 2021
The New Jersey native was a highly-touted recruit out of high school. He was listed as a 4-star recruit by ESPN and other outlets and was one of the highest recruits Babers had brought in since being named head coach in 2016. He sat behind Eric Dungey for most of the 2018 season as a redshirt freshman, only appearing in games where Dungey suffered an injury or was benched.
DeVito passed for 2,360 yards in 2019 and 593 in the first four games of 2020. Illinois’ passing attack struggled this season, throwing for only 38 more yards than Syracuse’s did. The Orange’s passing offense ranked last in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Fighting Illini, like SU, went 5-7 this season and missed out on bowl eligibility. Bret Bielema will be entering his second season as Illinois’ head coach next year.
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