”There really isn’t much negative about it,” Dunkelberger said. “I know the football programs are always a roller coaster and it seems to be going up right now. Also, the academic part of it is a big deal for me. My coach has told me a degree from there will set me up for life.
”That’s very important for me as well. Especially being close to home, that’s something that has attracted me to Syracuse being only four hours away. All of those things combined have made me want to go there. I love what I see there. I love the coaches, I love the fans. I have a really good chance to play. I am excited to help them build a winning program again.”
Dunkelberger attends Pierce College in California, but is originally from Pennsylvania. He attended Governor Mifflin high school near Reading. His grandmother recently passed away, putting even more of a premium on playing close to home.
”That’s a big factor because my family means a lot to me,” Dunkelberger said. “Especially losing my grandmother a (couple) months ago, my grandfather definitely wants to be able to see me play and get his mind off of it as much as possible. That’s why being close to home is very important.
”These past eight or nine months out in California, I’ve really missed the last few moments of my grandmother’s life. Being close to home is really important just because of that aspect of it. So that’s definitely a big deal for me.”
Beyond playing close to home, Dunkelberger likes what he hears regarding how he will be used and the direction of the offense. At 6-foot-4, 240-pounds, he will have a chance to contribute immediately.
”Every coach I’ve talked to over there has said I have the opportunity to come in and possibly start right away,” Dunkelberger said. “Just the fact that how interested I can tell that they are and that they want to change the offense up a little bit centered around the tight ends. That’s very important and you see that a lot in college football and they’re starting to go in that direction.
”I think with that aspect of it, they could definitely flip their season. I definitely want to be a part of what’s building there. The interest that I get from them is something I haven’t really heard from a lot of other coaches. That attracted me a lot as well.”
With his decision out of the way, Dunkelberger is focused on what he can do as part of the program.
”I want to help bring back the winning seasons,” Dunkelberger said. “Definitely go above .500 again and help out as much as I can in their offense. That’s definitely what I’m looking forward to most. I know with the toughness of the schedule it’ll be a lot of exposure.
”So I’m just going to do the best I can to help them win. That’s why I’m glad I’ll be coming in the spring because I can get to establish a relationship with the quarterback and get to know the offense and get in the conditioning program.”
A physical, versatile prospect, Scout's national recruiting analyst Greg Powers has higher praise for Dunkerlberger.
“Dunkelberger is a prospect who is able to do multiple things at the position," Powers said. "But most impressively he has good feet, which allow him to stay with blocks. He will need to add some size and power to be a traditional ‘in-line’ tight end. He moves around could split out and play some ‘flex’ or even line up as an ‘H-back’.”