Running back may be the top priority for Syracuse in the 2014 class. There happens to be a very talented prospect at that position in their backyard. Naesean Howard of Camillus (NY) is continuing to work at getting better despite a big junior season.
"I'm just in the weight room and trying to get stronger first," Howard described. "Then I'm doing this footwork and speed training out in Cicero so I can get faster. I'm just looking to get stronger and faster."
As he continues to get better, Howard has already garnered a lot of interest from schools all over the country.
"Buffalo and Syracuse are the only two full offers I have," Howard explained. "I got stuff from Connecticut, I got stuff from Utah, and also from Nebraska. Those are the old schools. Then Boston College, I talked to their coach. I called them. Then the Penn State coach, I had to call them. They talked to my coach but said they couldn't talk to me yet so I had to call them. I talked to them and they told me to keep my grades up. They said they're going to watch me throughout my senior year.
"(The interest) makes me feel like my hard work is paying off. God blessed me with this talent I have. I thank him for that."
As his recruiting starts to pick up, Howard is looking at specific things a school can offer. While athletics play a big part, that isn't the only thing the talented running back is looking at.
"Right now I'm looking at what school's offer as far as what I want to go to school for," the West Genesee product outlined. "I want to go to school for business management. So whatever schools have a good business management program and a good football program, I'll like that."
Regarding if distance from home would play a factor in his decision, Howard added, "nah, not at all. My mom loves vacations."
Last fall, Howard declared Syracuse was his leader. With a new staff taking over, they will have to start rebuilding that relationship.
"No I haven't had the chance to talk to them yet," Howard said. "I know coach Shafer from back when they gave me my scholarship. That's really the only person I know on the new staff."
Has the coaching change and lack of communication changed where the Orange stand with the local talent?
"No, not at all," Howard announced. "They're my top right now. They're number one."
Not only are they his top choice early in the process, but Howard can already see himself playing for Syracuse. It's something that has been ingrained in him from an early age.
"That would mean everything," the 5-foot-11 prospect said. "Having all that family support at every home game would be great. It's only about five minutes away from all of my families' houses. I would love playing for Syracuse. I've lived here my whole life. Ever since I was little, I've attended every S.U. football game I could. I just love S.U. football."