Syracuse commit A.J. Long has had a rough few weeks. After suffering a concussion from taking a knee to the back of the head, Long has had to watch his team struggle by losing back to back weeks against the toughest opponents on their schedule. The good news is, Long is poised to get back on the field very soon.
"This was the last week I'm going to miss," Long said. "I've missed the last three games. This has been by far the most frustrating thing I've ever had to deal with. To know that being in the game means the difference between whether you win or lose, and then not being able to go out there.
"It's one of those things that's hard to handle when you're standing there watching Friday night and even worse Saturday morning. Especially after the two losses we've taken these last two weeks."
Long's return on Friday is not definite, however. He still has to see the doctor one more time to get cleared. He is confident things will go well during that visit as he prepares for this week's opponent.
"As of right now, that's what seems like is going to happen," Long said. "I have to see the doctor one more time. I haven't had any more symptoms. I'm expecting to be back this week. We play FRA this week.
"They're the third best team that we've played with the other two being the teams we've played these past two weeks. We just have to go out and play. Put us in situations where our playmakers can make plays and we'll be fine."
Despite dealing with injury problems, Long has kept tabs on his future team. He even was able to see the new helmets and uniforms they've unveiled recently.
"Those new uniforms are probably the most beautiful things I've ever seen," Long said. "I love the helmet and how it's blue on top and then on the back it's orange. It almost fades to orange and you don't see it until you look at it in certain ways. I love the all blue."
Long has also been impressed with the way the offense, including new starting quarterback Terrel Hunt, has progressed since an 0-2 start.
"Terrel Hunt gives them what (quarterback) coach (Tim) Lester and (offensive coordinator) coach (George) McDonald want," Long said. "They want a quarterback that can move and run the offense. He's done a great job going through his reads and making the right throws.
"He looks comfortable doing it and the offense looks a lot better. It's going a lot better and I'm excited. It makes me more excited seeing Terrel Hunt do it before me because we're the same type of quarterback."
Hunt's emergence puts an interesting spin on Long's freshman year. He will not be battling an incumbent starter who could be difficult to supplant.
"Either way when I came in I was going to be the new kid on campus trying to earn the job," Long said. "Now it makes the job more fun from my part because it gives me the opportunity to prove if I'm as good as people are expecting.
"Or whether I'm going to need a year to mature and get acclimated to college life. I think from that perspective it's going to be a lot more fun and a lot more competitive."
Long is planning a trip up to Syracuse to watch the Orange take on Clemson in their ACC opener. While it will be an unofficial visit for him, there will be several uncommitted prospects taking officials. Aaron Roberts and Kadeem Smith were already known, but Long added another name to the mix.
"I know Mike Johnson will also be there," Long said. "Rodney Williams will be. Naes Howard will be there and Jason Cabinda. There's someone else that's going to be there that's an uncommitted kid. I'm not sure if it's an official or unofficial but I know he's going to be up at the game.
"My number one goal while I'm there is to help Syracuse recruit. Being a recruit and a commit myself, I put in on me if we want the best class possible. We have to recruit the guys we want to play with ourselves. The coaches can only say so much to where a recruit will listen. But when it comes from kids your age that want to play with you, recognize your talent and see the type of player you are, they want to go there more."