Wooster (Ohio) High safety Marquise Blair verbally committed to Syracuse on Monday, just two days after visiting the campus for the first time. He is the 15th member of Syracuse's 2015 class and first from Ohio. Blair is also the first safety prospect to pledge Orange.
Blair has been highly interested in Syracuse throughout the process, and the Orange put him as one of their top targets at any position in this cycle. In order to receive a commitment, they knew they had to get the talented safety on campus.
Saturday, June 21st was the day that worked out for all parties. The visit went very well as Blair got a feel for the entire program. But there were a few specific parts of the visit that stood out, making the Orange the right fit for the 6-foot-3 prospect.
"We got a chance to sit down with the defensive backs coach (Fred Reed) and watch some film," Wooster head coach Doug Haas said. "We talked a little about defensive back play and things that they do. After that we had a chance to sit down with coach Shafer and talked with him for a good 45-minutes. That was really an enjoyable part for me and an enjoyable part for Marquise.
"After our visit with coach Shafer, coach White showed us around a little bit. We checked out the Carrier Dome and that was pretty impressive for all parties involved. He was wowed by the Dome. Then they were in the midst of another camp so we hung out and watched a little bit of that."
The best part of the trip for Blair was his conversation with Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer. Generally a coach will spend time selling the program and why it is the best place for that particular prospect. Coach Shafer, however, took a different approach with Blair.
That was what sealed the deal for the Wooster High standout.
"Number one, we talked about making sure we get academically correct," Haas said. "Doing the right things in the classroom. Coach Shafer discussed with Marquise what his plans for him were and what he thought he could be. How he could impact Syracuse football. He reminded him of number three (Durell Eskridge). He said Marquise reminded him of him. Long and lean and that that type of stuff.
"You know what was great about it? Coach Shafer didn't pitch Syracuse. Coach Shafer pitched what is best for Marquise. If it happens to be Syracuse, and they want it to be Syracuse no doubt about it. I think that went a long way with him because it wasn't a hard sell. They weren't trying to sell Marquise steak knives, they want what's best for him and said they were hopeful that matches up with Syracuse. He said they were there to support him no matter what."
Relationships are what recruiting is all about. The Syracuse coaching staff proved that with this recruitment. They continually developed their relationships with both Blair and his coach. The school sold itself, but the coaching staff set the Orange apart from other options.
"There's just so many positive things when you look at Syracuse as a whole," Haas said. "This was kind of the one (visit) where they rolled out the red carpet for him. He came away very pleased and we were very impressed with the coaches and have been the whole time."