One could sense the joy in Malik Brown's voice while speaking to CuseNation.com at the airport after his official visit on Sunday. He reflected with a smile and laughed often while describing the weekend.
"I loved it," he said. "I had a great time, I got to chill with the coaches, and they're pretty cool. It just felt like home."
It began on Friday, when another familiar face was able to host him for the official. His former teammate at Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer High and current SU freshman defensive back Julian Whigham showed him the ropes of Central New York.
"He was showing me a little more insight," said Brown of Whigham. "Him, being my friend, wasn't going to lie to me or anything so he was just showing me everything. I liked everything he showed me."
The two met with several other recruits for a jam-packed Friday night and Saturday schedule.
"We went to a French Montana concert, which was pretty fun, and I got to meet Micheal Jordan's daughter," said the 6-foot-3, 215 pounder. "She was a nice person, really down to earth. You wouldn't expect somebody of her caliber to be so down to earth."
The group also took in the Syracuse-Monmouth basketball game at the Carrier Dome, something Brown was looking forward to before the visit.
"I saw some pretty good dunks, it was a dunk show," he said with a laugh.
In between those events and a tour of the campus and facilities, Brown was able to sit down with Head Coach Doug Marrone.
"All the coaches made me feel comfortable," he said. "Coach Marrone made a good comment, he was like I don't matter where I go, he just wants to see me succeed. That means a lot to me."
And when the normal protocol wasn't going on, typically at night, the group of recruits and players made the most of their time together.
"Them dudes were funny, probably the funniest dudes I ever met in my life," said Brown of the current players on the roster. "There was a D-tackle and a receiver, that was redshirted, that was really funny. I think it was (Quinta) Funderburk."
Fellow recruits also made an impression on the Floridian. Particularly quarterback commit Zach Allen, who has been actively recruiting him along with the staff, and fellow uncommitted defensive end talent Ebenezer Ogundeko.
"He was like ‘what do you think about the place?' said Brown of New York's top prospect. "I said it is a great place for me. He asked if I as committed and I said not yet. He was loving it there, too."
Perhaps the most important part of the trip, from a football perspective, was taking in the team's practice Saturday as it prepares for the Pinstripe Bowl matchup with West Virginia. Brown paid close attention to the defense, but not to the players or position group one may think.
"It was very up-beat, it was just great to see everybody moving around," he said of the reps he watched. "I was actually watching the linebackers and I went to the meetings with the linebackers. I keyed on number 18 (Siriki Diabate) and number 11 (Marquis Spruill), they're pretty good athletes.
"The system they have for linebackers is great with all the blitzed they put in. There's a chance I could be a MIKE (middle) Linebacker there."
Despite the many events and noteworthy part of the weekend, the best part of his visit for the senior was something nearly synonymous with the city of Syracuse.
"The food," he said with a laugh. "We went to Dinosaur Barbeque before practice on Saturday."
With all of the events going on and new people he met, there was an urge to let the coaching staff know his true feelings with a verbal commitment – but he held back in the end.
"I thought about it, but I'm going to take my other visits and see how it goes from there," said Brown. "The other visits have to live up to this one because if they don't, they're in trouble."