A.J. Long: Syracuse Recruiter

A.J. Long continues to be the champion of Syracuse's 2014 class as he looks to help the Orange land talented prospects. He was on campus over the weekend with Syracuse hosting several uncommitted prospects. He discusses that and more inside.

A.J. Long was the second commitment in Syracuse's 2014 class. Since then, he's been sporting Orange gear at camps and talking up Syracuse to other prospects. He took the trip up north over this past weekend to take in the annual Spring Game.

"I enjoyed it all," Long said of the visit up north. "It was really nice to be able to finally see the product and the parts they're putting together with the guys they have now. It was nice to see my cousin (Jarrod West) do as well as he did with the catches and the two touchdowns. I'm glad to see that it's on the up and up."

Make no mistake about it, Long was not there just to hang out and watch the game. He was there to help recruit the other visiting prospects.

"From the time the first kid walked in the door until the time we all left, all I did was recruit," Long admitted. "A lot of the kids I got good feedback from. A lot of them said we're in the final three. All but one of them said that they had a final three and we're in it. That one is Zaire Franklin. But after him being gone and getting home this past weekend, he's going to take an overnight trip up there in May I think he said. Sometime later than that maybe. Everybody had a great trip overall.

"That was what I was trying to do. Just help them and guide them to get them there. From all the kids talking to them, what they wanted in a program, they said they wanted it to be a great academic school with a great family environment that plays great football. That's one thing that Syracuse stands for and something that Syracuse prides themselves on. All the kids, along with the two commits me and Naesean (Howard), it fits us perfectly. So now it's just planning on waiting."

The most high profile prospect on the Syracuse campus was four star wide receiver K.J. Williams, who is Long's cousin. The two spent most of the trip together, and Long tried to convince his relative that Syracuse was the place for him.

"He loved it," Long said of his cousin. "He absolutely loved the visit. Actually today I found out that it's down to the final two between us and Michigan. He says he'll know real soon where he's going to end up. His commitment is planning on coming in the next week to week and a half if not in the next couple days.

"With him, I pushed a little bit more because it's something that we've dreamt about doing since we were kids. And knowing that this is the best place for both of us as far as coaching wise and getting us to the next level. Not only that but preparing us for life after football. I feel both of us would fit there because we're similar people."

Syracuse and Michigan battling for a top recruit appears to be a mismatch on paper. But Long believes the Orange can offer Williams something that the Wolverines cannot.

"The biggest thing is that nobody would ever come to see you play (at Michigan)," Long argued. "Your eight hours away and your mom would probably only make it to one game out of the year and that's when you play Penn State at Penn State. That's the one thing I keep saying is that knowing you're already going to have family there and they're going to look after you.

"Knowing that if you go there (Syracuse) it's not just him that's going to be there. He'll have his cousin, he'll have me there. Those are the things we stress with him because if they aren't there at the game with him to see him play, it's a different kid on the field. It's not the same."

Syracuse fans became a little nervous recently as Long was going to take a visit to Kansas State, despite stating previously that his recruitment was closed. However, those plans changed as he decided to cancel the trip.

"I had thought about it," Long explained. "After I committed, I didn't need to go anywhere else. The visit was set up prior to and it was a trip to see another school. But after sitting down and looking at what Syracuse had to offer against what Kansas State was going to offer, they just didn't match up. It didn't make sense for me to make another visit for no reason."

Long has been to Syracuse multiple times for visits. However, he's not done making the trek up north. Not surprisingly, he's trying to coordinate with another prospect to continue his recruiting.

"I want to hopefully get up there in May," Long claimed. "That's when Zaire Franklin is going to go up. He's going to tell me when he's getting there and I'm going to see if it's feasibly possible to get up there again. Then when he's there, it'll be me, himself, and KJ on the trip too. But if I can't go then, then this summer I'll definitely go up there and spend a week with Jarrod. Just to see how everything goes and how practices are.

"Then I'll take my official next year. It'll be when they play Clemson. Those are things that have already been talked about. I'm hoping to get one or two more visits out of it in the summer."


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