May 30, 2024
Stanford football gets rare transfer portal boost at quarterback in former Syracuse QB Justin Lamson.

STANFORD – The transfer portal has been mostly one-way traffic for Stanford football, with 17 key players leaving just this past offseason.

But unlike past years, there is a contingent of incoming players this year, including offensive linemen from Penn and Harvard, linebacker Gaethan Bernadel from Florida International, and quarterback Justin Lamson from Syracuse.

Lamson’s arrival in particular may signal a significant step for the Cardinal.

Unlike some schools, football transfers at Stanford are required to meet the same academic standards as any other student.

Being unable to retool at a crucial position such as quarterback through the portal can be a competitive disadvantage for Stanford. Every other team in the Pac-12 might start the season with a transfer QB as its starter. That includes all five Pac-12 teams in the AP Top 25 – defending Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams (USC), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), Bo Nix (Oregon), DJ Uiagalelei (Oregon State) and Cameron Rising (Utah).

But Lamson’s arrival at Stanford after two years at Syracuse is noteworthy. The redshirt sophomore immediately entered a competition alongside Ari Patu and Ashton Daniels to replace Tanner McKee, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Eagles.

First-year Cardinal head coach Troy Taylor hasn’t announced a starter for the Sept. 1 opener at Hawaii, and said he wouldn’t be opposed to playing multiple QBs, something he did at his previous stop, Sacramento State.

From left to right, Stanford quarterbacks Justin Lamson (8), Ari Patu (11) and Ashton Daniels (14) participate in practice on the practice field at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) 

Taylor is familiar with Lamson. He was at Sacramento State when he first scouted Lamson, a Top-50 prospect in California, when Lamson was 25 miles away at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills.

“I know he’s really competitive, I know he’s really mentally tough, and I knew that coming in just from watching him play in Sacramento as a high school player,” Taylor said. “He picks up on things really quickly, intelligent, accurate, good under pressure.”

After being unable to get on the field at Syracuse, Lamson said transferring to Stanford was a “no-brainer’ once Taylor arrived.

“Two-and-a-half hours from home, prior relationship to the staff, great culture here,” Lamson said.

Though he didn’t participate in spring practice along with Patu and Daniels, Lamson said he has benefitted from Taylor’s up-tempo practices, which puts the players through more reps than a standard practice.

“Obviously those guys have a spring under their belt which gives them the upper hand a little bit,” Lamson said. “But I’ve done a good job of studying the playbook and the coaches have done a good job of getting me caught up. I’ve gotten plenty of reps this camp.”

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Lamson also has experience in a hurry-up system. He said that Syracuse’s motto when he arrived was “no huddle, no mercy,” and last spring the team was installing more high-tempo schemes.

Lamson is also coming off what was reported to be a knee injury last spring, but Taylor said he is moving around well and isn’t in pain. The dual-threat QB enters a competition with Patu, a junior with 25 career pass attempts, and Daniels, who had 25 carries and threw six passes as a freshman last year.

“I’ve been in quarterback competitions beforehand at Syracuse so I’m experienced with it,” Lamson said. “My biggest thing is just focusing on myself and getting better and being ready when my name is called.”

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