A.J. Long made his way back to Syracuse last weekend and sat on the 30-yard line inside the Carrier Dome for the Spring Game. Long tells¬†The Fizz the experience was more than he expected it to be, and it’s solidified his decision from a month ago when he¬†committed to the Orange.
‚ÄúAfter this past visit, my commitment is stronger than ever. My deal is done and I‚Äôm done with recruiting, as far as for me. Now, I‚Äôm ready to go out and recruit everyone else to come to my school.‚Äù
Orange Nation has been here before, when Zach Allen and his Jedi recruiting powers dipped for TCU when Doug Marrone left.¬†But there‚Äôs a different scenario with Long. He‚Äôs received attention from top programs such as Alabama and USC from the very beginning of his recruitment and has stood by his decision to the Orange. So if Long is locked into SU, how’s his sales pitch to other recruits?
‚ÄúI have a lot of guys who typically wouldn‚Äôt look at Syracuse because they already have offers from top programs. There‚Äôs a lot of big-name kids who never really thought of Syracuse before but are now looking into it.‚Äù
While A.J. has called quite a few names, there’s one in particular he has some sway with. A player he’s competed with since he was 5 years old.
‚ÄúMy cousin has offers from Michigan, UCLA, and other top programs. Now I have him looking at Syracuse as an option. His final two right now are Michigan and us. Now it‚Äôs just a waiting game for him. He told me today he‚Äôll be committing soon. He didn‚Äôt tell which school or when but I expect in the next week and a half we‚Äôll know that one.‚Äù
K.J. Williams is a four star wide receiver from Bethlehem, PA. The Liberty High School star grabbed an SU offer late in March following A.J.‚Äôs commitment. Syracuse brought in some playmakers in February, but aside from Jarrod West, all of¬†SU’s wideouts are unproven. Incredibly, Williams is also cousins with West. Jarrod is also a product of Liberty High. It’s all a lot to process.
Long thinks throwing to his cousin would make them the best QB-to-WR connection in the country:
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve always talked about playing football together at the college level. I convinced the staff to give him an offer. Now, he‚Äôs taking Syracuse very seriously. After seeing how well Jarrod (West) played in the spring game, catching two touchdowns, he thinks he can fit in the offense. A crazy amount of opportunities can come his way on offense after seeing a family member accomplish it.‚Äù
So the Long/Williams/West trio makes for an amazing recruiting story. Long has a hunch K.J. will come to Syracuse based on his timing. A.J. himself is a huge key since SU’s¬†QB position is a fragile one¬†even if¬†Drew Allen comes in to win the job.
Long is laboring through his off-season workouts. He‚Äôs primarily focused on fine-tuning his footwork. He has a soaring vision for this program when he makes his way on campus. The coaching staff wants A.J. to enroll in December to compete for the starting job next year. Long doesn‚Äôt need the staff‚Äôs motivation, as he stood by his words from March:
‚ÄúI want to get up there as soon as possible to win that ACC Championship and make our way towards a national championship. I may be back for another unofficial visit soon, but I‚Äôll be taking my official in the fall when we play Clemson at home.‚Äù
It doesn’t end there. Long has also reached out to Eric Shute, an offensive lineman from Illinois. Shute¬†visited for the Spring Game as well. The three-star, 275 lb. recruit has narrowed his decision down to North Carolina State and Syracuse. According to Long, Shute could making a decision in the next week.
A.J. is one busy individual, but as long as he’s doing recruiting work for the Orange, no one minds a bit.
Posted: Brendan Glasheen