Zaire Franklin out of La Salle College High School (PA) has been one of Syracuse's top targets at the linebacker position. Recently, Tim Daoust took the short trip south to visit the 6-foot-1 prospect.
"Really, me and Coach Daoust just sat down," Franklin recalled. "We just chopped it up really. Most of it was about football, but we were just talking. It was just about, really, anything."
Franklin says he knows how much of a priority he is for the Orange. It shows every time he talks to one of the coaches.
"It's kind of already established now that how badly Syracuse wants me," Franklin admitted. "When I went out for the junior day, Coach (Scott) Shafer pulled me and like six other guys aside. He told us we were the guys they really, really want. It's that and a lot of other gestures that let me know they really want me there. Those little things are what keep hammering that home."
While Daoust was the coach that visited this time, he says he has built his relationship with linebackers coach Clark Lea. The two talk on a regular basis.
"It's actually been Coach Lea," Franklin said. "I've been talking to him. I talked to him the other day for about 40 minutes on the phone. I talk to him at least once every week. I'm sure he talks to my coach more often than that. But I talk to Coach Lea pretty often.
"Me and Coach Lea, we have a great relationship. We talk all the time. Even when I always plan on making it a quick ten minute thing, even from the first thing, we always end up talking for like an hour. It's just anything. From football to what's going on with the team. Half the time, when we're on the phone for maybe 40 minutes, I'd say only ten of that is about football."
Still getting to know Coach Daoust, he says that relationship is being built very well. He likes all of the coaches at Syracuse as they stay in constant contact.
"Coach Daoust, he's just a fun guy," the 3-star linebacker explained. "He's just like everyone at Syracuse. Everyone at Syracuse, one thing they have in common, is that they'll be honest and straight up with you. I think he's a real dude. He's honest, he cares about what he's doing, and he has a passion for it. I like Coach Daoust. He's a good guy."
Despite the interest from Syracuse and adding offers recently, Franklin says he is still taking his time. He does not want to rush into a decision, and wants to make sure he finds the right fit.
"It's kind of hard because as I get an offer, I kind of rank them," Franklin admitted. "If I like the school more I'll bump them up and whatnot. I had schools that I thought were on top or whatever. But like a month and a half ago, I had never talked to Syracuse. Now I talk to Syracuse, they're one of the schools I talk to the most. Things like that happen and it's hard.
"Honestly I don't understand how guys can have a top five or top ten already. Any day, like next week, a school come in. Like Duke, I've been talking to a lot. They haven't offered, but a Duke degree is just a different type of degree. I never thought I'd like Syracuse this much. So you just never know what can happen. It's hard to keep a ranking of how you feel about each school. But Syracuse is definitely way up there.
"When I make my decision, I don't want to flip back and forth," Franklin continued. "I want it to be one hundred percent. When I choose a school, I want that to be where I sign my letter to. I want to make sure, before I declare where I want to go, that I'm one hundred percent sure that's where I want to go."