The Scott Shafer era at Syracuse has started strongly in recruiting. He landed his biggest fish (at least in terms of ranking) on Sunday when Bethlehem (PA) Liberty High wide receiver K.J. Williams verbally committed to the Orange.
Williams' high school head coach, John Truby, says there were two big reasons why the 4-star prospect picked Syracuse.
"I think overall the reason why K.J. chose Syracuse was first and foremost the family aspect," Coach Truby explained. "Having A.J. (Long) there was a huge deal for K.J. I know he and K.J. have been talking about playing together at the college level since they were little.
"I also think it was the academic piece. The sports management program at Syracuse is second to none. That was a really big part in his decision making."
Coach Truby says in high school, Williams is the focus of opposing teams' game plans. That talent should translate well into Syracuse's new conference.
"K.J.'s the type of kid that in high school, the opposing team knows exactly where he is at all times," Coach Truby said. "When K.J. gets off that bus, they're going to know where he's at. He's a very special athlete. He can make plays that normal players just can't do.
"I think they're getting someone who's going to work really hard on and off the football field to make himself one of the better wide receivers in the ACC."
Liberty High's new head coach went on to break down what Syracuse is getting in K.J. Williams.
"As far as his strengths, I'll have to go with overall body control," Coach Truby described. "The way the kid is able to position himself, he's always in the proper position to make a catch or make a play. He's catches almost everything thrown his way. His jumping ability is just a huge strength for him.
"As far as weaknesses, you're getting really nitpicky. But his routes, sometimes he rounds off his routes a little bit. I think that will be something he'll need to work on just to fine tune. Maybe get a couple more moves to get off the line when he's being jammed. When you start talking about players that are older and stronger, that could be a little bit of a problem."
Work ethic is something that Coach Truby says will suit Williams well at the next level. Outside of that, he says Williams is a normal teenager who isn't a diva like many talented wide receivers.
"K.J.'s worth ethic is just amazing to watch," Coach Truby admitted. "He's the type of guy that's always looking to run routes with his buddies. I know he and A.J. were looking to go out, because A.J. was in Bethlehem this weekend, and get some kids to throw the ball around. That's his thing.
"He's likes to be around his friends. He's a normal kid. He enjoys being with his buddies. I know it was a special time for him when he was around his friends making his announcement to Syracuse. That's something he'll remember for the rest of his life."
With a highly rated prospect like Williams, the natural question shifts towards a potential flip. Coach Truby believes that is highly unlikely.
"With A.J., with his cousin going to the same school, it would probably take a really special circumstance for him to flip," Coach Truby claimed. "I think he's very comfortable with the coaching staff up at Syracuse. He's very happy knowing he'll be able to spend time with family up at Syracuse as well. So I think there's a lot of comfort for him there. I think it would take a really special circumstance for him to go back on his verbal.
"Miami, when I first took the position I had a couple conversations with them. But since then, not really. I don't know what Miami's plans are for K.J. I don't think he even has an offer from Miami. I can't really speculate what they will do in the future. But for right now, Syracuse landed a good one and they should be confident that he'll be there come signing day."
Assuming Williams does sign with the Orange, Coach Truby believes he can make an impact in the short-term and long-term at Syracuse.
"I think he's someone that can come in at Syracuse and be able to perform at a pretty high level right away," Coach Truby predicted. "When he gets up there and learns the terminology and buries his nose in the playbook. That'll be something new for him because I'm sure Syracuse will have a pretty advanced offense.
"I think he's someone you guys should look forward to watching. Especially growing and getting used to the college level. The guy is just special and you guys are going to have a great talent coming your way."