SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- One of Syracuse's backup quarterbacks received some unfortunate news. Sophomore A.J. Long has been medically disqualified due to multiple concussions and has to end his playing days, sources confirmed to CuseNation.com. The news was first reported by Syracuse.com.
"We appreciate AJ's hard work and the contributions he's made to our program," Orange head coach Scott Shafer said in a release. "I look forward to watching him continue to grow both as a student and as a young man. I wish him the best."
Long was forced into action as a true freshman last season, and had some strong moments. He became the first true freshman quarterback in school history to win his first career start (matched this year by Eric Dungey, both against Wake Forest ironically). Long had moxy, was mobile and threw a decent ball.
Unfortunately, a hand injury derailed his attempt to win the backup quarterback spot to Terrel Hunt entering the 2015 campaign. Dungey won that battle and became the starter once Hunt went down in the season opener.
So what's next for Long?
"I'm OK," Long told CuseNation.com. "I've had six days to prepare for this and my family has made this decision a lot easier on me with their love and support. My next plan is to get into coaching, and eventually take Syracuse to what I said I would."
The former Orange quarterback added that he will finish his undergraduate work at Syracuse, but from there it is up in the air.
"Whatever happens after graduation is in God's hands," Long said. "I want to be here."
Meaning he hopes he has the opportunity to coach at Syracuse in some capacity.
Long was the galvenizing force that helped Syracuse's 2014 class come together. He was the leader on the recruiting trail among the commits and was critical to the Orange's success there.
During his short career, Long completed 89 of his 165 passing attempts (53.9%) for 935 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions. That cinludes a 307-yard passing effort in a loss against NC State. He also rushed for two touchdowns.
Defensive end Tyler Marona, defensive end Isaiah Johnson and offensive lineman Kyle Knapp were also medically disqualified due to concussions.