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Syracuse's Terrel Hunt asks NCAA again for one more year

Terrel Hunt has missed several games in his Syracuse career because of injuries, but the NCAA has ruled that he played in too many his junior season to qualify for another year of play. Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt wants the NCAA to reconsider its decision to deny him what he has always wanted: a chance to play football.

In November, he was told he could no longer do so because he failed to qualify for a medical hardship waiver. Though Hunt has missed 18 games over the past two season with injuries, the reason for the denial is straight from the NCAA rulebook -- he played in too many games his junior season, when he broke his leg in his fifth game. When he tore his Achilles tendon to open 2015, Hunt thought it would be a "no-brainer" for the NCAA to grant him a sixth season to play.

So when he got the denial, Hunt was crestfallen. But he was undeterred. He filed an appeal within a week, hoping the NCAA will take a look at the complete picture before ruling again.

"I want to play another year," Hunt told ESPN.com. "I feel I didn't get the opportunity that others got, and I really only got to play a year and a half out of four years due to injuries, uncontrollable situations.

"It's been really frustrating. Last year I understood freak accidents happen and I accepted it and moved forward, did anything I could to help the team. This year it happened so early. I did everything I had to do to come back and have a great year, then the third series this happens, and it's devastating. It was hard for me to be there for the team the same way I was last year. You just feel helpless."

Here is why he wants the NCAA to reconsider. After redshirting his freshman year in 2011, Hunt played in only two snaps on special teams in 2012. Then-coach Doug Marrone offered to get Hunt in against Southern California at MetLife Stadium because that was a home game for him. That counted as an entire year played.

Hunt earned the starting job in 2013 by the end of September and led the Orange to a victory over Minnesota in the Texas Bowl. But that was the last year he played a full season.

In 2014, Hunt competed in more than 30 percent of the Orange's scheduled games, missing the cutoff for a medical redshirt year. Had he gotten hurt in the fourth game, he would have qualified. This past season counted as a medical redshirt year, but he needed two in a row to get a sixth season.

"You have something planned in your head and it goes the complete opposite way," Hunt said. "I'm the kind of person, I go get opportunities, I don't wait for them. When you wait for them they miss you. The fact I couldn't physically do anything, and somebody else had my future in their hands. This year was 10 times harder."

Hunt has briefly met with new coach Dino Babers and is undeterred about having to prove himself to a new staff. "He wants me back," Hunt said. "I honestly just want to play football. I know if I'm in a quarterback battle I'm going to come out on top. I'm not really stressed about that situation. I just want to be able to get my year back so I can prove to everybody that I belong here."

Hunt already has his undergraduate degree and is close to finishing his master's. He's inquired about commercial real estate jobs should his appeal be denied. Giving the NFL a shot is something he wants to do, too, provided he is healthy enough to work out during pro day.

For now, his entire focus is trying to spread the word to get the powers that be in the NCAA to change their minds.

"The NCAA, sometimes the ruling to some people it doesn't make sense, and I'm one of those people," Hunt said. "I've done everything right. I've graduated. I would have much rather played and failed than not to get a chance at all. It's not their fault, but who would have known this freak accident was going to happen two years in a row?

"This is just to give a kid another year of playing football, something he loves."