Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas offensive lineman Colin Byrne committed to Syracuse a little over a month ago despite never seeing the campus. On Thursday, he took the trip north to Central New York to check out the Orange program in person.
"It did go well and it's a beautiful place," Byrne said. "I think it does (solidify my commitment). I committed back in May because I wanted to. Because I wanted to be part of the program. I'm not going to commit and back off of that. Even without seeing it I liked it. After seeing it, it is the place for me. I met with coach Shafer, coach (George) McDonald and coach (Joe) Adam.
"They all said that they're committed to me just as long as I'm committed to them. One hundred percent, we're committed to each other. We're on the rise at Syracuse and I look forward to doing it all together."
One of the parts that stood out was seeing where he could be living when he arrives as a freshman prior to the 2015 season.
"We got to check out the dormitories and everything like that," Byrne said. "I was walking around last night around nine o'clock. I was walking around Syracuse and I was kind of like, ‘this is the campus? This is it?' But I finally got into the private part of Syracuse University and it's unbelievable. It's beautiful. It's something I've never really seen before. I look forward to spending time there.
"They showed us a couple of dormitories there. They're pretty beautiful too. Freshmen will be in a two-person dorm. Later in the year, they have 40-slots and they choose a couple of guys who get the four-person living space. How well you're doing academically, how well you're playing and your effort towards school and football determines whether you get the nicer living space. (Coach Shafer) will drop you in a second if you don't put the effort towards your education. It's something to work towards and everything was beautiful."
Byrne has a chance to speak with Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer at length during the visit. It was one of the highlights as he was able to get to know Shafer on a more personal level.
"Me and coach Shafer talked about what it's going to be like for me at Syracuse," Byrne said. "He was telling me what he's all about and how he gets things done. He works hard in the right way. He doesn't want to work hard and cheat. He wants to do things right and he wants to win things right.
"If he's not winning things right, and has to win doing the wrong thing, he doesn't want that. He doesn't want to just win without doing it the right way."
As is seemingly always the case during recruiting trips, Byrne checked out the restaurant that has become one of the top attractions for potential future Orange players.
"I did get a chance to eat Dinosaur Barbecue," Byrne said. "I walked there from the hotel the day I got there. It's pretty awesome. I really liked it. I didn't even expect that Syracuse would have such good barbecue, but they sure do."
The 6-foot-5 offensive lineman was also able to check out the different ammenities. He is especially excited about the new indoor practice facility, which he believes is a metaphor to the rise of the program overall.
"The facilities are really nice," Byrne said. "They're building the new $17 million indoor practice facility. Right now they're practicing in the Carrier Dome and outside fields. I look forward to that. That'll be done before I get there. It's something to look forward to. All they're doing is building on the football program, so I look forward to that.
"They're on the rise, man. If you look at it logistically, in the ACC, they came in third behind FSU and Clemson. Things are rising there. I look forward to being there and getting after it as soon as I get there for my freshman year."