Three-Star DE Hilliard is Orange

After a whirlwind recruitment including an early commitment to Pitt, opening things back up without telling the public and finding a way to make a decision before National Signing Day – Myles Hilliard had a sense of where he wants to spend the next four-five years and he pulled the trigger Monday night.

With less than 48 hours until National Signing Day, the truth is beginning to come out for football prospects all over the country. For Myles Hilliard, it's the truth of others that forced plenty of late changes during the home stretch that led to a flip from Pittsburgh to Syracuse.

The short span would allow for just one official visit, and in this case – a one and done.

"Syracuse was my first official visit," said Hilliard, a three-star defensive end. "It just felt like home to me.

"When I went on my visit, everybody was cool there. It just seemed like a great place to live, and it seemed like great people were there in the city of Syracuse – not just the school. The school was great, too. It's not a big school, which I like. "

But before the pledge to SU could take place, the fall-out of the Pitt situation really dwelled on Hilliard.

"I de-committed, "said Hilliard, the 6-foot-6, 258-pound prospect from Bedford (OH). "When I found out (about Todd Graham's departure) I was in school, I was just about to find my coach and he was like ‘the Pitt coach just quit'…

"I was like ‘if the head coach quit then other people are going to be out of a job.'"

"Once I found out that my position coach wasn't there anymore, it really caught my attention," Hilliard continued. "I had a good vibe with the old staff, and I felt like I committed to them.

"When the new coaching staff came in, I felt like I didn't know anything about them, it was going to be a whole change of style of play…I just felt like I didn't want a change."

Even after the disappointment, the visit to Central New York on January 20 changed everything.

"At the time, there was a lot of trivial stuff going on so it was difficult at first – trying to pick which schools I wanted to go to , but when I went up there, they treated me great," he said. "Coach [Tim] Daoust has been recruiting me, he's real cool."

"The visit to Syracuse kind of made up his mind for him," said Rudy Hilliard, Myles' father. "Syracuse reached out to him and made him feel comfortable with the coaching staff and everything.

"Even when he made his decision before about Pitt, he did have Syracuse on his mind. "

Syracuse was always current with Hilliard, even when he was pledged to Pitt. But the coaching changes opened the door for the Orange.

"When he committed to Pitt, they had the staff he was comfortable with," said Rudy. "When they left…it makes is difficult – it's not like in the pros where you're getting paid and you have to stay put.

"Kids have a choice to be comfortable where they can be."

"Syracuse is a big-small school," he continued. "Sometimes a kid needs to be in an atmosphere where they can survive and thrive. When you talk Ohio State, Michigan State – those are huge schools. Sometimes kids get lost in the shuffle. "

After a successful visit to see the Orange, Hilliard continued to hear from other schools that previously accounted for some of his double-digit offers including from the Spartans, Nebraska and Iowa State – all who tried to reel him in even without a visit.

But one factor stood out with Syracuse – which made the decision easy for Hilliard.

"Coach Marrone," said Hilliard. "He is honest, straight-forward.

"That's the type of person I am, and that's what I want in a head coach…that was the major thing (that) sealed it."

As for his ability on the field and what he brings to the Orange on defense, he detailed his different type of approach to a given play.

"In my head, I just react," he said. "Every defensive end that I know of - good and bad - always got a plan before they do it. I don't have a plan; I just react to the play or the player I'm playing.

"If the player I'm playing is moving fast and his ankle is flinching (pre-snap), I'm going to pick up on it and notice it off the bat."

His father knows there is much work to do if he is to excel at the BCS-level, though he also knows it will come with time.

"He's an unselfish player," said the elder Hilliard. "If he's given the task of taking on multiple blockers and that's the play – that's what he does. If he can make a tackle or a sack after doing what he's told to do, that's a plus.

"He's a good run stopper, and he can work on that speed a little bit – but that comes with age."

What will come in less than 48 hours is a National Letter of Intent, one that Hilliard will take care of first thing on February 1.

"I'm just ready to sign the paper on Wednesday morning," he said.

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