A.J. Long Tells Fizz Syracuse Is Overhauling Recruiting for ACC Competition

The outspoken QB commit believes the Orange staff is targeting a new kind of player for a new league.

Scott Shafer and company have been awfully busy on the recruiting front since the last time The Fizz caught up with 2014 QB commit AJ Long. Most of the names Long has mentioned the past few months have been targeted by the SU coaching staff. As it turns out, those marquee players have jumped on the Orange bandwagon.

Since the end of April, Syracuse has reeled in six more commits to the 2014 recruiting class, with four in the month of June and two in July. The most recent is Long’s 4-star WR cousin, KJ Williams, who received an SU offer thanks to Long’s persuasion. He told The Fizz that he and KJ one day dreamed of playing college football together. Now, there’s a chance to make that dream a reality in the Carrier Dome.

Shafer’s mentioned his ideology for the ACC several times: HARD-NOSED. That’s been his mindset all summer, really since he’s been named the head coach of SU. Whether it’s recruiting or putting together training camp depth charts, Shafer is looking for something extra out of his guys. Long believes the staff is doing some real digging when it comes to finding the right players for the new conference. He said it was a “huge relief” for him personally to finally convince Williams to become a part of that:

“They don’t have the players they want to play in the ACC. We’re the type of kids that they want and fit their system. So it’s good to know that he’s the first one we get. He’s going to help us so much more, [since], as everybody says, he was the most highly recruited person that we’ve brought in the last couple of years.”

KJ’s commitment is arguably the biggest get for Syracuse football in over a decade. Ranked 154th overall by Rivals and 23rd best at wide receiver in the country, Williams brings a bright spotlight to SU’s class. What should be mentioned is he pledged with a “soft verbal,” so there’s plenty that can change with Pennsylvania’s 2nd  best WR. Although he’s not as involved as the other commits on social media or vocal when it comes to interviews, Williams has joined the shaping bond between the guys in this class, according to Long. AJ  is pumped about the unity and mindset of the guys already, and they’ve yet to even play a single down to together and sign with Syracuse:

“It’s awesome. We talk to each other on a daily basis. Daily might even be short, because we’re talking to each other every minute of every day with the group message we have on Facebook. We’ll talk about anything from recruiting to anything about everyday life, to who’s the best basketball player, to who is the best at video games. You can feel already this class has something special. Not just on the football field, but off the football field. By the way we’ve talked, I’ve felt like I’ve know these guys all my life. It’s awesome to see what we’re building.”

From the forming LB corpse in Colton Moskal and Zaire Franklin, to fresher names such as Jason Cabinda and Rodney Williams, this class, as Long has already said, has something special already. Their constant communication has been constantly discussed, specifically regarding the “Twitter Mafia” Long has engaged. But somewhere down the road, these talks should pay off in training camp or workouts at Manley Fieldhouse, and most importantly, during games at the Dome against ACC powerhouses (like Clemson this coming season).

As Long preached a few months ago, fine-tuning his footwork remains his top priority this summer before his senior stint at Friendship Christian. He’s a smaller quarterback, often comparing himself to Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. Throwing on the run is a skill he’s comfortable with, but establishing something in particular could make him great at the college level:

“Right now it’s my footwork, and more specifically with my footwork, I have to keep a wide base. When my base is wide I complete my throws 10 out of 10 times. When my base isn’t solid I only complete 7 out of 10. That’s been the focus of my summer workouts.”

So there comes good and bad when throwing without a wide base and Long understands that already, which is a great sign. He threw just one interception last season as a junior, but realizes the competitive nature of the next level will require more of him. Earlier this summer, he participated in the Elite 11 competition in Ohio:

“It was fun to be in. It’s a great experience, and a chance not many people get. I’m very thankful for that. The guys I was playing with I’ve seen since I was a freshman. That camp is a great camp to go to especially for a QB.”

Things are only starting for Long. He’s had an eventful summer personally with camps and training hard for the coming season. One thing he certainly doesn’t mind adding to his busy plate is recruiting, better yet “hard-nosed” recruiting, to make the class of 2014 a class no one will forget.

Posted: Brendan Glasheen

39 Comments on this Post

  1. Russell MacEachern

    I knew he was only 5’11” but he sure puts a burden on his shoulder’s?I hope Russell Wilson is a good comparison?RW wasn’t even recruited as a QB!I think Ish Witter is visiting today!!

  2. NYC Orange

    A linebacker “corpse,” now that’s something I’d pay good money to see!

  3. cusefan75

    Like his moxy but he needs to be careful with his words. Insinuating that your soon to be teammates aren’t good enough or that you’re a better player won’t be received well. I’m sure that the coaches aren’t thrilled to see Long telling people that they don’t have the players they want to perform well in the ACC this year or next. True or not, that messes up team chemistry in a major way.

  4. Check out about the 57th minute here. Good old hard nosed coach HCSS!! Do you think they cut him off?? Love this guy!!

  5. Goodmorning guy’s;are you all having problems with this website? over the last couple days the featured article space is blank and the old articles listed beneath it are missing. I don’t know if I hit the wrong button on my key board to have this happen or the FIZZ is having problems on their end.

  6. Ron its the site again. I hope it gets back to normal and this new method isn’t the way for the future!!

    The site I pasted is for the “first” group of coaches interviews. HCSS is in the next group of interviews. Just look around the site and you’ll find it-hopefully-sorry!!

  7. Thanks Terry for letting me know. It’s been going on now for a couple of days. I wrote the Fizz and asked DA if there was something we could do at home to fix the problems. He hasn’t gotten back to me yet.

    Thanks again.

  8. OrangeCrush27

    Def like to see an article on offensive line recruiting targets. Seems like that is the one big need for ‘Cuse in this class

  9. @russell MacEachern;

    Just read that your new AD Julie Hermann announced to the world she’s GAY.

    Priceless man just priceless. It’s seems that the Rutgers Administration has stepped out of the frying pan and into the fire with this hire. Wish them luck,their going to need it.

  10. Just finished reading an article on a Jesuit School(Canisius)in Buffalo trying to build their program into a national program. It’s the school Ollison plays for.

    Canisius recently welcomed Brad Zaffram from Amherst (N.Y.) Sweet Home, Mitch Thomas from Atlanta, and Tyrone Wheatley from Manlius (N.Y.) Fayetteville-Manlius.

    Maybe Coach Shafer and his staff ought to take notice and start going after these kids,”hard”,to come to Syracuse.

    Russell,we have a coach and program in NY that wants to become a national power. I think it’s a little to late,but AMAZING.

    Maybe in the couple of years we get to play schools like Don Bosco and Bergen Catholicot of NJ. I would travel to Buffafo or NJ if it did come true.

    Terry if all of the good players commit to play at Canisius,and get away from Mr. Williams and the city area,maybe just maybe,things will change and the good NYS players will like what Coach Shafer has to offer and they start coming to Syracuse.

  11. Right on Ron about mr Williams!!

  12. Well guys,some good news today. Syracuse recieved it’s 10th commitment in Cornerback Lamar Dawsen.

    He chose Syracuse over Cincinnati, Michigan State, Northern Illinois and Toledo among others.

    Not bad,not bad at all.

  13. Russell MacEachern

    great news Ron!!My computers giving me trouble so be patient!

  14. Ryan Murry is reporting that if 6’0″ 190 lb Lamar Dawson has a successful senior year of ball that his stock is going to rise and he will recieve more interest from BCS schools.

  15. @Terry;

    Terry I looked at the national rankings this morning and with this commit, Syracuse has jumped(6 spots)back up to #57.

  16. Cuse17

    ESPN- ranks recruiting classes 14′
    ACC second best league behind SEC
    Fla St 1#
    Mia. 7
    Clemson. 10
    NC. 20
    Louisville. 21
    NC St. 27
    Vetch. 28
    BC. 29
    Cuse– you have to be kidding!
    Shafer was a bad choice and this isn’t the Big East anymore!

  17. @Cuse17;

    Cuse17 I’ve added some comparison to your post. You used ESPN.I’m going to use rivals rankings ok. Compare the difference between the two lists.

    Fla St 1# rivals #2 recruits 22
    Mia. 7 rivals #3 ” 24
    Clemson. 10 rivals #10 ” 15
    NC. 20 rivals #14 ” 19
    Louisville. 21 rivals #13 ” 22
    NC St. 27 rivals #17 ” 22
    Vetch. 28 rivals #31 ” 14
    BC. 29 rivals #21 ” 21
    Syracuse rivals #57 ” 10

    Now,just to let you know I don’t believe a damn thing what ESPN has to say about anything. The information provided are very subjective and can be interpreted anyway that makes you happy.

    I believe your overlooking the fuzzy math that’s being used on these sites and I know your over looking the amount of recruits that these schools have over Syracuse at this moment in time. Let’s wait until after NLOI day to see what rthe final rankings is going to be. I’d put money down saying that Alabama will be #1 when all is said and done.

    As far as Shaver is concerned,your way off base on this one. He’s the right guy for the job. I wish him all the luck in the world for this guy.

  18. So,Fizz Family; I was going to ask this question to all of you lastweek,but because of my response to Cuse17,I’ll ask it now.

    Because of the numbers of recruits that the ACC schools have over Syracuse,do you think that that’s going to help Syracuse in the long run this season or not? Remember we’re aftera couple package deals from the state’s of Georgia and Florida. They have to be close to their limits of commits already. Do you think Syracuse will get any of recruits that the other schools won’t/can’t take,because of their class of 2014 is full?

  19. First a ranking of 57th is not a program rebuilding kind of wish. Yes much much better than any dougie/GROB years yet still behind. SU needs 30’s to get back to that lofty goal again. You see I’m not saying 20’s or 10’s either. Any serious SU fan had to know SU would improve slightly this year, but not jump over the moon either on recruiting!! About average class(if they sign and that’s not a given either) so far. Where’s the OL and TE too!

  20. Russell MacEachern

    We should finish 48/52 in recruiting this year guys!Not bad!I’m having computer problems!Be patient!

  21. What a difference a website makes. has Syracuse ranked 55th.

  22. Russell MacEachern

    We just need a few surprises Ron and maybe 38/42 is possible this year!!…patience Ron my computer keeps crashing?Have to have it looked at!Feel it coming Ron? Opening day!

  23. Russell,I was ready,moments after we kicked West Virginia’s a$$ in the Pinstripe Bowl. Can’t wait for the 2013 Syracuse Football season to start.

    Like I said earlier Russell,I still have hope that we’re going to get a few more recruits from NJ to join our Orangemen. I think we have another 15 openings for the class of 2014. Looking for recruits from Florida,Georgia, Illinois,Texas,California,Pennsylvania and Nassau Community College to complete the 2014 roster.

  24. Russell,I apologize to all of you for forgetting about Maryland.

    Syracuse is after two recruits(Vashon Tucker,Jamie Herr) out of “Tri State Christian Academy” Elkton MD. All three would be great gets for Coach Shafer.

    Syracuse is also after another two recruits(Corey Johnson,Tre Buchanan) out of “Eastern Christian Academy” Elkton MD.

    I still believe Russell,the best is still to come for the Syracuse class of 2014.

  25. Russell MacEachern

    Jamie Herr is 1 of those OL who waited too long to commit to RU and was offered a gray-shirt but didn’t want to wait a year!!He’d be a 3* steal for us!!These kids have to no if u wait too long your scholly might be gone!

  26. @Russell MacEachern;

    I believe “Tri State Christian Academy” had a large group of players that participated in one of Syracuse’s Football Camps over the summer. I believe Coach Shafer has offered scholarships to players for the 2015 & 2016 classes,from that group.

    In the end Russell,Syracuse will land on it’s feet and all is going to be good headed into the 2014 football season.

  27. Russell,Isee we lost out on OL Jamie Herr. has him committing to West Virginia today.


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