Long recaps official visit

A.J. Long has been to the Syracuse campus many times before, but this time he traveled on the Orange's dime. He goes in-depth about his official visit experience, thoughts on the other prospects who visited with him and more inside.

A.J. Long has been to the Syracuse campus numerous times. But over the weekend, he was finally able to take his official visit.

"The visit was absolutely great," Long said. "This visit was nice because they pay for everything and they wine and dine you. You just have a good time. Most of the time you go up and watch a game, you talk to the coaches sometime afterwards.

"Depending on if there's time you can talk to some of the players. But this weekend was the best. Being able to hang out with all the guys the entire time so I can pick their brain. This was my first time actually getting to watch them practice. This was by far the best visit. I'm glad this was my last one before I'm in college."

While many aspects of the visit were memorable to Long, one part in particular stood out.

"It was probably going to Dave and Buster's the first night," Long said. "Spending time with the coaches and playing all of those games that you play. Competing with Kendall Moore, Jarrod West, Eric Crume, Jay Bromley, Brandon Reddish. I can't forget Ritchy Desir. Just competing with them, playing pop-a-shot, racing. It was just fun to be around. Competing and getting to know your future teammates, that was my favorite thing."

One of the main reasons Long took his official during that specific weekend was because of the other recruits that would be on campus. During the visit, Long tried his best to help the Orange recruit.

"Number one, I know deep down in me that we're going to get Cordell Hudson," Long said. "I think it's a done deal at the end of the day. If I had to pick another one that's going to commit to Syracuse, I'd pick Chris Slayton. Just because he knew about Syracuse football and what they were trying to do. But at the end of the day, it was sitting down with the head of the sports management program. Chris told him the other schools he was looking at, and basically narrowed it down to two schools.

"University of Illinois and us, and Illinois doesn't have a sports management program. So far, it's been Aaron Roberts, Colton (Moskal) and Lamar (Dawson) that have all had Illinois in their top three as well as us. All three picked the Orange so far. We'll see because even though Kansas doesn't have a sports management program, he could end up there because they play good football. But I'd say those two.

"One person that I couldn't really read was Nile Sykes," Long continued. "And Jaboree (Williams) because they didn't really talk a lot. Nile, just from his interview, you can see that he really enjoyed it and it was more than he expected from it. I feel that he bonded with the players and he really got to see that this is a family environment. The fact that he could see himself there, I think that helps us out a lot compared to Notre Dame because it's Notre Dame. When you go there, you're just a number if you're not the top player in the country. I guess we'll see that one unfold.

"With Jaboree, I think he's going to end up staying with Wake Forest. That's the school that he's not sure yet but that's why he came. I think at the end of the day he's going to stay a Demon Deacon."

Shifting his focus to his future team, he is excited about the direction of the program with their third bowl appearance in four years.

"I'm excited because they've done it three times now," Long said. "They went to the Pinstripe Bowl two years. They beat Kansas State and then they were the number one team in the country the next year. Then last year beating West Virginia, you can see that they're finding their groove. So to see that continue this year, and they have great players on their team now. Now the coaches are getting more players that they believe fit their system, so it's just a matter of us coming in and doing the work.

"I'm really excited because seeing this season unfold with not starting out well, then winning a couple games, they fell off then came back. Then to see how they finished against Boston College, I'm excited just because of that. Coming in to a new conference against great teams and still making it to a bowl game, most teams can't do that. You think of last year with Missouri. In the SEC, they didn't do too well their first year. We started out better than Missouri I'd say, so let's see what our class can do next year."

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