Syracuse Felt Like Home to Long

Syracuse received their second commitment in the 2014 class on Wednesday when quarterback A.J. Long pulled the trigger. He goes in-depth on the decision, his 4-star cousin K.J. Williams, and more inside.

On a day where Syracuse dismissed two players from the team for off the field issues, the Orange football program got some good news as well. 2014 Friendship Christian School (TN) quarterback took a trip up north to visit Syracuse, and did not leave without verbally committing.

"I just went around and saw everything that I had seen before," Long recalled. "The entire day, Coach (Scott) Shafer drove me around with Coach (Tim) Lester and Coach (George) McDonald. We went to the academic center and I spoke with my sports management counselor. That was really all we did on the trip. We went around campus, touring.

"Then we came back and I sat down to have a one on one with Coach Lester. We were going on the board and talking about football. Coach McDonald was telling me about the offense and I got to talk to Coach Shafer at the end. He was telling me about the college situation. I told him that I wanted to come to Syracuse and I committed."

This was not Long's first trip to the hill, but it did make a big first impression. The new coaching staff gave him that "home feeling" he was looking for.

"The entire time I was there, all three times, it felt like home," Long admitted. "I wasn't sure before and I wanted to see what the new coaching staff was going to be like this year. But going there, they were brutally honest with me. They said not everything is going to be rainbows and candy, and it won't always look good.

"They aren't always going to be happy about everything. They're putting all their money into a 17 or 18 year old quarterback that could eventually lose them their job or get them a pay raise. That was the one thing that stood out to me and made me want to be there."

The reaction from Scott Shafer when Long informed him of his intentions was further reinforcement that the 6-foot-2 quarterback had made the right decision.

"I had told him he didn't have to worry about my letter of intent going anywhere else," Long explained. "I said I was coming here. He jumped up and said, ‘so you're committing?' He smiled and it was ear to ear. That was probably the best part of the day knowing I made him that excited for me to come play there."

The Syracuse coaching staff were not the only ones excited about Long's recruitment coming to an end. His family couldn't be happier with the dual threat quarterback's decision.

"My entire family was ecstatic," Long said. "My dad, he was happy for me. Not only am I going to a school where I'm going to have the best coaches that are coaching me, to make me the best I can be, but at the same time, I have family there. Wide receiver Jarrod West is my cousin. So that's a plus to go there as well. Everybody was happy for me. Everybody was excited to have the process over with. Now we can just focus on getting ready for college."

More good news for Syracuse fans is how solid Long appears to be with his decision. He says his recruitment is over and his decision is final.

"I would just say ‘thank you and I appreciate it but my recruitment is over,'" Long offered. "So I won't be going to any camps or taking any visits. This is the right fit for me."

In addition to West, Long has another family member who is a talented receiver. That is 2014 4-star K.J. Williams. Long said the two spoke shortly after he committed.

"I talked to K.J. yesterday," Long said. "I told him everything that happened that day. We've talked about wanting to play together. He told me in his own words, ‘if they offer me, we'll be playing together at Syracuse.'

"Now it's not a matter of getting him to go there, it's a matter of getting the coaches to see that he's a big time receiver."


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