Transfer quarterback Caruso excited to join Blue Hens

NEWARK — J.P. Caruso didn’t waste any time picking up his first college degree.

Thanks to some heavy course loads, he earned a degree in business education from Appalachian State in just three years.

“I took a crazy amount of classes over the summer and over my last couple semesters,” said Caruso. “I was like, ‘If I can get my masters paid for and get as much school in as I can, why wouldn’t I do that?’”

Caruso plans to bring that same approach to Newark — both in the classroom and on the football field — now that he’s transferred to Delaware.

The Palm Beach, Fla. native has already been taking classes at UD for a few weeks as he begins working toward an MBA.

J.P. Caruso said he thinks he’s developed into a pretty solid dual-threat QB. (Appalachian State sports information)

And the junior quarterback has also started working out with his new football teammates as he starts trying to compete for playing time with the Blue Hens.

Caruso said he’s anxious to study the game under first-year Delaware coach Danny Rocco and offensive coordinator Matt Simon.

J.P. Caruso

“I’m getting coached by guys who know way more football than I could ever imagine,” said Caruso. “Why not soak everything up and take full advantage of the time being coached under Coach Simon — a guy who coached in the NFL?

“Football is a chess match — offense vs. defense. Who can pick up on each other’s mistakes and really take advantage? Talent goes only so far.”

The question with the addition of Caruso is where he fits in with the Hens.

Delaware has a third-year starting QB in junior Joe Walker. But the Hens’ overall passing attack has struggled the last few years.

Rocco, who wasn’t available for comment this week, said earlier that bringing in Caruso creates depth at QB. He’s also said that adding a transfer from a bigger program doesn’t automatically mean he’ll be the starter.

At NCAA Division I-A App State, Caruso was the backup to standout Taylor Lamb, who will be a senior this fall.

“I just felt like it was time to move on and seek other opportunities,” said Caruso. “He (Mountaineer coach Scott Satterfield) said, ‘I honestly don’t want you to leave. You’re our No. 2 guy. All you’ve ever done was great things here. You’ve been a great player and a great teammate.’

“Nothing’s ever going to be handed to you,” Caruso said about his role with the Hens. “You’ve just got to get better every single day.”

At Appalachian State, J.P. Caruso got in 14 games, completing 14-of-18 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns while running 31 times for 187 yards and a TD. (Appalachian State sports information)

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder saw his share of playing time with the Mountaineers. Caruso got in 14 games, completing 14-of-18 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns while running 31 times for 187 yards and a TD.

Usually entering the game in the fourth quarter when App State was trying to run out the clock, Caruso often ended up running the ball himself.

At Palm Beach Gardens High, though, he broke the school passing records held by future Florida Gator and Cincinnati Bengal Eric Kresser. At the time, Caruso was rated as Palm Beach County’s top pocket passer by the Palm Beach Post.

Caruso said he thinks he’s developed into a pretty solid dual-threat QB.

“I liked to use my arm a lot more than my legs in high school,” he said. “Then I got to college and I really learned how to run the ball. Running the zone read, you run it hard and get upfield and make guys miss. That really wasn’t something I did so much in high school.

“But when I got to college and learned that, I was a really quick, shifty guy. Why not use another skill?”

At Delaware, Caruso said he just wants to help the Hens win.

He’s excited about the possibilities under Rocco, who takes over a program that hasn’t made the NCAA FCS playoffs since reaching the national championship game in 2010.

“I saw Delaware as an amazing opportunity with a great MBA program and with a football program that has a great tradition,” said Caruso. “Maybe it’s been on the downside the last couple years but I truly believe that’s going to change with Coach Rocco and the rest of the coaches. I love where the program’s headed and really buy into that.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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