Patrice Rene, a 2016 defensive back from Canada, picked up an offer from Syracuse over the summer when he camped with the Orange. On Saturday, he was able to experience a game day atmosphere for the first time.
"When we got there, we were greeted really well by recruiting coordinator Eric White," Rene said. "He met us at the front door and we were able to take a tour at the Dome. We ended up going on the field to watch the players warm up which was really nice and neat. We saw the coaches, (head) coach (Scott) Shafer, (defensive backs) coach (Fred) Reed and all that. I got to talk to a couple players, so the pre-game vibe was really good.
"It was my first NCAA game so I was really excited about that. The whole game, I was on my heels with it. I felt really hyped the whole time. It gave me a great feeling to what it's like to play there. The last play with 12 seconds left when they managed to score the touchdown to win the game, that was just unreal. I got it on tape, I filmed the whole thing. It was really exciting. When they finally scored the touchdown, I just couldn't believe it. It was amazing. Of course I was cheering for Syracuse."
This experience opened Rene's eyes to what Syracuse is all about more so than when he camped over the summer.
"The first time I was there, I didn't get to see much other than the practice facilities and stuff," Rene said. "This time, I got to go onto the campus a little bit. I got to see the band play outside. We walked around with the monuments and statues and all that. Then when we finally got to the Dome, we walked around and toured the field. It was really nice."
"They were telling me that they were really excited about me," Rene said. "They were telling me that they've watched my film and they're really, really excited about me a lot. They would love to have me be a part of their program. They think I would be a great fit for them.
"Just telling me what they see in me and the potential they see. What I could become if I went to Syracuse. I really appreciated that. They showed a lot of love towards myself. They were saying anytime I'm ready I can commit."
It may be very early in his recruitment, but taking everything in on Saturday, an early commitment did cross Rene's mind.
"I actually thought of it during halftime," Rene said. "When I was down there I was thinking while I was in the moment that, ‘hey this could be my home.' That's certainly possible. They're my first BCS offer and that means a lot to me. It's only about three hours from home, which is not too bad. I just like the atmosphere at the Dome and the fans were just amazing. The coaching staff is just amazing.
"During halftime I was actually thinking that this could be my home. I could call this place my home. It crossed my mind. But as far as an early commitment, because I still have two years left to go, I don't know about that. But it's definitely an option and I really like Syracuse a lot. I've liked what I've seen so far, so I don't think it would be a surprise if something happened like that."
Syracuse and Akron are Rene's only two offers at the moment, but he believes that will change soon. An SEC school has expressed interest while he plans to attend several camps in 2014.
"I haven't picked up any new offers yet," Rene said. "I have a bunch of visits and camps lined up for this summer. Vanderbilt's been talking to me a lot. It looks like they're going to offer soon."
Rene is looking to transfer into the United States for the last two years of his high school career. He has it narrowed down to two high schools in Virginia. Episcopal High (where fellow Canadian Graydon Campbell currently plays) or Woodberry High. He plans to make that decision by February.