Academics were critical for Byrne

Offensive coordinator George McDonald is making a habit out of receiving verbal commitments from Florida prospects who have not yet visited the Syracuse campus. One of the most recent such pledges, Colin Byrne, discusses his decision inside.

Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas offensive tackle Colin Byrne committed to Syracuse on Friday along with his teammate Sam Clausman. This despite not visiting the campus.

For Byrne, the academics were too good to pass up.

"It just seems like it's an academically good fit for me," Byrne said. "Sam and I both think it's a good opportunity. It's a really good opportunity for both of us. We just look forward to being able to go out there.

"Just the academics, they're very important to me. I think it's a really good school for academics. That's one of my major priorities is to have a good degree. My mom is originally from up there in Syracuse. She says it's a good time. (Aquinas head) coach Casullo is up there a lot and he says it's a great place."

Byrne and Clausman are friends who hang out together off the field. Their personal relationship helped the Orange land the two talented linemen.

"We've had it in mind that we weren't going to split up," Byrne said. "We're good friends. We get to play high school together and developed a pretty good relationship with each other. We'll see how it works out but it's exciting to go up there with someone instead of going up there with a bunch of people you don't know."

Another big factor was Byrne's relationship with Syracuse offensive coordinator George McDonald, who has made a habit of getting verbals from prospects who have not visited.

"Coach McDonald is a great guy," Byrne said. "He gives us all the information we want, both the good and the bad. He puts everything on the table and he tells us everything we need to know. He's started a really good relationship with coach Casullo. He seems like a really good guy. He's like one of us and seems like a buddy to me."

With his decision made, Byrne is focused on his career at Syracuse. He hopes to make a big impact on and off the field.

"My goals are to hope to go in there and make a difference," Byrne said. "Maybe I'll start as a true freshman, maybe I'll redshirt. There's an opportunity for me to start as a true freshman. I hope that ends up in play but the education there is unbelievable. I look forward to getting up there."

Byrne said he is not shutting his recruitment down and is "keeping his window open," but is a solid commitment to Syracuse. He will play offensive tackle for the Orange.

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