New OL Target Emerges for Syracuse

Syracuse needs help along the offensive line in the 2014 class. They haven't landed a prospect there yet, and a new target has emerged. Kadeem Smith picked up an Orange offer during the evaluation period. He discusses his interest in Syracuse, a potential official visit, and more inside.

Fort Lauderdale (FL) Cardinal Gibbons High offensive lineman Kadeem Smith has been tracked by Syracuse for some time. That interest led to an offer at the beginning of the summer.

"A week before our spring game they came to visit me," Smith recalled. "It was Coach McDonald, who's the recruiter for our region, and the offensive linemen coach (Pat Perles). They told my coach that they really liked me and liked how I move. They kind of wanted to see me more.

"They couldn't really get a good evaluation of me because of Florida's rainy season and everything. It didn't go too well without them being able to watch practice fully. So they came to our spring game and saw me play. They liked what they saw. A couple of weeks after that, I would say at the beginning of summer, they offered me."

The 6-foot-3.5 prospect is being recruited by the Orange as an interior lineman. He says when Syracuse offered it was an emotional moment for the Sunshine State product.

"I was surprised," Smith admitted. "They didn't really see that much of me on the field at practice. But I guess they saw something in the game. I was very proud and very happy. It was a good accomplishment for them to want me as a football player. Seeing that my hard work was paying off was kind of an uplifting moment for me."

Syracuse isn't the only school to recognize Smith's talents. He holds several offers right now with others showing interest.

"I have eight offers in total," Smith claimed. "It's a mixture of D-1 and D-2 schools. The main ones are Western Kentucky, Syracuse, FIU (Florida International), Marshall and UMass. Those are the ones that come off the top of my head right now. Georgia Tech is showing a lot of interest and might end up offering me. I don't know what's going on there but I've spoken to their offensive linemen coach.

"Purdue is one of the places that's looking at me. Navy and Kentucky and a couple of other schools are keeping on me and seeing what's going on. They're looking forward to my senior season."

One of the schools that has been showing Smith the most interest is Syracuse who are in need of some help up front. Smith says he has developed a strong relationship with both George McDonald and Scott Shafer.

"Coach McDonald has kept in contact with me every week," Smith said. "When I call him he asks how my workouts are and how I'm doing. Stuff like that. He asks how's my family. I've talked to the head coach, me and my family. We feel that he's a good guy. He understands my morals and we understand his morals. We have a general idea of how he deals with things as a whole."

Smith says he is looking to take an official visit during either September or October. He has discussed those plans with the staff and his family as they try to find the best weekend for all parties involved. Despite not being on campus yet, Smith says his interest in the Orange is very high.

"My interest level (in Syracuse) is way up there," Smith outlined. "Syracuse has football, a good environment and my major. I want to be a chemical engineer and Syracuse has a good program up there with that. It just goes hand in hand both the physical and educational.

"There's a good chance I could commit during my visit. I've told the coaches about my interest. There's a good chance of me committing to Syracuse."

Whether it be to Syracuse or a different school, Smith says he knows what factors are the most important in finding the right fit.

"The most important things are my major, football of course, and overall how I see the coaching staff," Smith declared. "How I react to them. If I agree to their principles and morals. Just to see how they go that extra step.

"For example, the Syracuse coaches keep in touch with me to make sure I know what's going on. They inbox me (on Facebook) just to say ‘hey, what's up?' It's not always about football. Things like that."

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