Syracuse landed a big (literally) commitment when 3-star wide receiver Jamal Custis pulled the trigger on Sunday. What exactly are the Orange getting in Custis? His head coach at St. John Neumann High School in Philadelphia (Pa.) says they got a really good player with a high ceiling.
"Wide receiver wise, he's a fully grown man," coach Szydlik said. "He is 6-foot-6, 220-pounds and he can run. There's no doubt about it. He's as athletic as it comes. I probably imagine once he hits the weight room up there on a day to day basis, he'll come into a more h-back or split out tight end kind of guy. But he can catch and he can run. He's probably one of the most competitive kids I've been around. He's a full blown winner, that's for sure."
Despite being a complete player, coach Szydlik says he continues to work hard on his craft in order to be ready to contribute right away at the division one level.
"I think that he works on everything now," coach Szydlik said. "Obviously his route running. He probably could spend a couple hours in front of a machine catching footballs. But that's with most kids. He's one of the most complete kids you'll see, honestly. It's hard to find fault in his game. Weight room wise, once he starts to pack on the pounds, he'll be just fine."
In high school, Custis is the most talented player on his team. Therefore, he draws the concentration of opposing defenses. Despite that, they are able to scheme ways to get him involved.
"I think for us, what winds up happening is that most teams wind up doubling him," coach Szydlik said. "He normally gets a linebacker type in front of him and then a safety over the op of him. That means for us, we run the ball a lot and do other things while still trying to get him the ball.
"I think in college, he'll benefit from being able to be moved around and in the backfield. They'll be able to practice more extensive role because they have more time to practice than we do. He is a mismatch. He's a nightmare and a half. It would be interesting to see linebackers try to cover him."
If Custis is going to transition to a tight end type of role for Syracuse, he will have to learn how to be a consistent blocker. Coach Szydlik believes he has the ability to learn that very quickly.
"I think it would take him only a few weeks to learn," coach Szydlik said. "He gets down in his stance now when he plays rush defensive end for us. He also plays free safety. He can do most things. I know it's different at the college level, but he's an aggressive kid.
"He's not one of these wide receivers who won't do those things. He's a down and dirty kid. Let's put it this way, he wanted to play nose guard during our last game because he thought it would help us win. He just wants to be on the field so he'll do whatever it takes."
Not only is Custis a force on the field, but Coach Szydlik says he is everything you look for off of it.
"He is the first person on the field and probably the last person off the field," coach Szydlik said. "He runs every sprint like it's a touchdown and he's probably one of the most humble kids you'll want to meet. His older brother played at Temple and his other older brother left and went to UMass. The whole family is not new to this. So he knows the things that it takes to be successful at the division one level.
"He's your typical team captain. He's going to do what he needs to do. He speaks at our team meetings. He leads by example and is one of those kids that never misses anything. He's definitely our team leader. When you're best player is not your team leader it can be a problem, but that's not the situation with us. He's our team leader. It's not even a question. And in the classroom and other things, it's the same way. He's just a humble kid who always does what he needs to do."