Offensive line is a key position for Syracuse in 2014, and will be again in 2015. The Orange staff has wasted no time looking at talented prospects despite not being done with the current recruiting cycle. Union City (NJ) OT Steven Gonzalez picked up a Syracuse offer late last week.
"Coach Perles added me on Facebook," Gonzalez detailed. "He messaged me giving me his number and telling me to call him around 12-2 and said he had good news for me. So, I borrowed one of my coach's phones because my cell phone broke. I called him up and he told me some great things about Syracuse.
"Telling me a little bit about himself. He asked me a couple questions like what do I want to major in in college and how many brothers and sisters do I have. Then he just said, ‘I hope you know we're offering you a scholarship to Syracuse.' I was just speechless and happy that I got my eighth offer. I was really excited."
Despite entering his junior year, Gonzalez has been identified as one of the most talented prospects in New Jersey. He is already up to eight offers including some big time programs.
"It just feels like a blessing," Gonzalez admitted. "It feels like my hard work is paying off from my days in Pop Warner. All those summers I had given up to work on football, it feels like it's paying off now. I just have to keep working hard every day."
The conversation with Coach Perles was his first interaction with the Orange. While he enjoyed the conversation, the 6-foot-5 tackle wants to get to know him and the other coaches better going forward.
"That was the first time I had been in contact with them," Gonzalez recalled. "I did introduce myself to Coach Perles when he added me on Facebook. I sent him my highlight tape and then three weeks later is when he told me to call him. It was basically just the one time that we contacted each other."
During the conversation, Coach Perles gave Gonzalez a lot of information about the Orange program. While that was helpful, the Union City High standout already had some knowledge of the school.
"He (Pat Perles) told me a lot about Syracuse," Gonzalez explained. "He told me they have one of the best sports management programs in the country. That's what I want to major in in college. He told me that it was a great school and I already knew it was great for football and basketball.
"I've seen the basketball team play. I've also seen that they've gone to the ACC and have new coaches. They put a lot of players in the league last year. Two to the Giants so they're an up and coming program. They're going to be good."
Gonzalez plans on getting up to Syracuse in order to learn about the program. Though that may have to come after this upcoming season.
"I might go during the winter," Gonzalez claimed. "I'm not too sure yet. During the season I'm pretty busy. I'm going down to Rutgers on September 14th for one of their games. I'm going to Penn State, hopefully, on October 12th I think.
"I was going to go to the game in the Meadowlands but my team has a game. I'll be pretty busy so I'll get up there during the offseason."
Still early, Gonzalez claims no favorites. However, he says two are standing out and the Orange are in the running.
"Right now Rutgers and South Carolina are standing out," Gonzalez announced. "But Syracuse is definitely in the mix. Right now I don't have a real favorite. They're all in the mix right now. I'm not too sure yet.
"I'm just waiting for all of the offers to come in. Once they do I'll go back and research all the schools to see what I like about them. That's when I think I'll narrow down my options."