Football

McNabb likens Hunt to younger Boyd

Donovan McNabb has watched Terrel Hunt since his very first start at Syracuse. He’s been impressed by his diverse skill set — his arm, legs and playmaking ability — and sees promise.

What stood out most to McNabb was the Clemson game. On one end there was Hunt. On the other was potential first-round pick Tajh Boyd. To McNabb, though, the difference between the them is just experience.

“Very similar careers, I think,” McNabb said. “You may be seeing the type of career that Tajh Boyd is having this season.”

Hunt was excited at the prospect of meeting an idol on Tuesday. Standing in the Iocolano-Petty Football Wing at Manley Field House, he stood in front of a video screen displaying McNabb highlights on loop. Three days later he would finally get a chance to meet the legendary Syracuse quarterback.

At noon on Friday, McNabb stood in front of a horde of cameras and recorders in front of those same screens. He hadn’t yet met with Hunt, but that was his next destination.

“I’ve watched him ever since his first start,” McNabb said. “I didn’t want to bother him during the season.”

McNabb wanted to hold off on talking to Hunt until head coach Scott Shafer had settled the quarterback situation, McNabb said, but he’s been impressed.

In the first two games that Hunt took the bulk of the snaps, he put on performances not seen at SU since McNabb donned an Orangemen uniform. He completed more than 83 percent of his passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns against Wagner and followed it up with a four-touchdown day against Tulane a week later.

He’s failed to crack 100 passing yards in any game since and posted a dismal 26.5 passer rating against the then-No. 3 Tigers, but McNabb still sees talent.

“I just enjoy his progression and I enjoy what they’ve been able to do while he’s been under the helm,” McNabb said. “He’s a talented player. Strong arm. Can make plays.”

On that Saturday in early October, Boyd showed the difference. He completed 20-of-27 passes for 455 yards and five touchdowns to overpower the Orange. He is a senior, though, and in McNabb’s mind, reaching that age could be what it takes for Hunt.

“That may be T-Hunt in a few years,” McNabb said, “and people will be talking about Syracuse football again.”

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