Good news for junior quarterback Zachary Mahoney. The quarterback who played well in relief last season is a walk-on no more. Syracuse Athletics announced on Tuesday that Mahoney has been placed on scholarship. Orange head coach Dino Babers informed Mahoney and the team on Monday (video at the bottom of the page).
"One of the things we've always looked at when awarding walk-ons scholarships is if they give our family an opportunity to win when they go into the game," Babers said in a release. "The way Zack played last year, particularly the way he led this football team against LSU and Clemson, along with the way he's prepared so far this year with our staff, there's no doubt in my mind if there's anyone deserving of a scholarship it's Zack Mahoney."
Mahoney walked on to Syracuse as a junior college transfer from DuPage in Illinois. He rose from fifth string on the depth chart to the backup to Eric Dungey. He started four games and played in eight.
His two most memorable starts were against LSU and Clemson, two of Syracuse's toughest opponents last season. Against LSU in the Carrier Dome, he received his first start. In a 34-24 loss, he become the first Orange quarterback in program history to throw three touchdown passes against a top-10 team in one half.
Against the Clemson Tigers, then the nation's top ranked team, Mahoney rushed for 80-yards and two touchdowns in a 37-27 loss. In both games, he had Syracuse in it well into the fourth quarter. He capped off the strong season with his first career win against Boston College in the season finale.
"Coach Babers and this staff have truly given me an opportunity to show what I can do. I've developed a lot as a player and a person with this staff and I've very grateful," Mahoney said in a release. "I'm excited to keep helping this team."
Mahoney threw for 535 yards and seven touchdowns while rushing for 151 yards and two more scores in 2015. He finished the spring as the backup quarterback, and is the favorite to land that spot again heading into the 2016 season.