Steve Ishmael may be the top offensive target for Syracuse. Despite the North Miami Beach (Fla.) product not visiting the campus, he has had the Orange as his top school for some time. A big reason why is his relationship with offensive coordinator George McDonald, who stopped by for a quick visit on Wednesday.
"He came by and it was really just a private conversation," Ishmael said. "He didn't really talk to my parents. It was just in my front yard. We were talking like we were good friends. I really love coach McDonald and I love Syracuse. After the visit, if I like them, I'll wait until after the Cincinnati visit and I'll commit after that.
"He asked how my Illinois visit went. He said they need receivers and that if I come in and play my game I have a chance to compete right away. That if I don't play it'll be my fault. But if I come in and work hard I will start."
The two also discussed Syracuse's berth in the Texas Bowl.
"He told me about that," Ishmael said. "He said if they had beaten Pittsburgh and another team they would have been in a better bowl. He did say that hopefully next year when I come, we can change things around and compete for an ACC Championship."
The three star receiver is looking to attend the game despite being so far away.
"I actually plan on going," Ishmael said. "One of my coaches is going to watch Ritchy (Desir). I asked him if I could go and he said if my mom pays for plane ticket I could go. I'm anticipating going to the game.
"Of course I know that they're going to win. They play Minnesota. Minnesota's a good team, but I think Syracuse can pull it out so I'm not too worried about that."
Syracuse will enter the dead period as the leader for Ishmael, who believes in what the coaching staff is building in Central New York.
"I think the future is very bright," Ishmael said. "Especially because this is their first year coming into the ACC and doing as much damage as they did this year. Now with the recruits, me, Alin (Edouard), A.J. (Long), K.J. (Williams) and the linebackers, that's why I put Syracuse so high.
"I see a bright future in them. I'm willing to take that chance to go up there and change things because I know we can. They have a lot of great players committed to try to get things to where it needs to be. We have a chance to be a really great football team and that's why I put Syracuse so high as my number one."