Three-star athlete Daiquan Kelly committed to Syracuse on Sunday. He was a big fish for the Orange, who made Kelly one of their top priorities both in New Jersey and across the country. Sunday was his second visit to the Orange campus, and the trip was what sealed the deal.
"It was just the way my family liked it and that I loved it a lot," Kelly said. "It was my second time visiting and just the way the coaches were treating me today. I just followed my heart and it told me that that's what I wanted to do.
"I want to get a degree there, I want to play football there, I want to win a championship there. It's close to home and there's a good degree."
His relationship with Syracuse assistant Bobby Acosta was a huge part of Kelly's decision as well.
"It was a very good relationship," Kelly said. "He went to a school, I would say, like ten minutes away from mine. So we had a great relationship. He's worked hard recruiting New Jersey guys. It was a fantastic recruitment with him."
Kelly is the second Garden State prospect to commit to Syracuse. He joins three-star running back Dontae Strickland. Knowing he has another New Jersey prospect coming on board with him, and one that is a friend, was important.
"It's a big factor," Kelly said. "We're going to change the program around and win an ACC Championship."
Another attractive aspect of Syracuse is Kelly's ability to fit into their defensive system. He believes his skill set makes him an ideal fit into their scheme, as he will play safety for the Orange.
"I'll fit in good," Kelly said. "I've seen a lot of their tape and it's a lot of what I like to do. A lot of blitzing, a lot of 4-3 that they run, a lot of man coverage. So I fit into all of that."
When Kelly sat down with Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer during the visit, it gave him and his mom an extra level of comfort. When he informed coach Shafer of his decision, the reaction from the leader of the Orange was something Kelly won't soon forget.
"It helped a lot," he said. "I told him before I did anything and he was really excited. He didn't know what to say after that. We were having a meeting with him, me and my mom. He was just so excited."
Kelly's mom was an important part of the decision process. Knowing his mom was a short drive away from seeing him play, as well as her comfort level with the school he would be playing for, was critical.
"She liked it a lot," Kelly said. "She thought the coaches were great. We took a tour of the facilities and saw the business school that I will be majoring in. We checked all of that out and she liked it a lot. Then the fact that it's close to home so she can see me play."
Kelly is now focused on what he can accomplish during his time playing for Syracuse.
"I want to win as many rings as I possibly can," Kelly said. "I want to get my degree and hopefully go to the NFL. If not, I want to start my own business."
Now that he has verbally committed, will Kelly still look at other schools?
"This is my final decision," Kelly said. "I am committed to Syracuse."