Syracuse had a big official visit weekend over the past few days with eight players on campus. While only three were not currently Orange commits, among the most important was Miami (Fla.) Central defensive end Keivonnis Davis.
Davis was a George McDonald recruit and committed to Syracuse without seeing the campus in person. With McDonald now at ACC rival N.C. State, Davis said he was going to take other visits. This trip gave Syracuse a chance to solidify their position.
"Oh man, it was a great atmosphere," Davis said. "I got a chance to go into the Carrier Dome, had a chance to go on campus and see a couple things I'd be interested in as far as academics and what I'd be majoring in. I got to meet a couple players.
"Everything was smooth. It was great. I loved the coaches from the conditioning coach to the cafeteria mom. Everything was tight. The weather is kind of cold but I could deal with it."
One big highlight was the new indoor practice facility. While he had seen pictures in the past, seeing it in person was something completely different.
"That's a great start being able to go into the spring with the indoor facility in practice," Davis said. "You can go live like it's a real game because it's that type of atmosphere. It's a great field. A great indoor facility."
The 6-foot-3 three stat defensive end said the trip made him feel like his decision to commit to Syracuse was the right one. Specifically after speaking with his player host.
"Yeah man, especially hanging out with Ollie," Davis said. "Oliver Vigille, as one of the former Miami Central players, he was my host and he took me through the whole process. We talked the whole time I was down there. He gave it to me one the real because we from the same place back home.
"He really broke it down and I really saw it. I came to my conclusion where this actually might be the right situation for me."
Maybe the most important part of the trip was spending time with the Syracuse coaches. That left a big impression on the Miami Central standout.
"Coach Daoust, that's my guy, man," Davis said. "We fooled around the whole time I was there. Coach Daoust, he was one of the guys I got close to, him and coach McDonald. McDonald left for N.C. State. Me and coach Daoust, our bond got a little bit tighter. We were easily talking it up and talking about football and school and decision making and staying out of trouble.
"Then I finally got to meet with coach Shafer. He's such an energized person. He can't wait to get me up on campus. All of the coaches were great. I felt welcomed. The guys were just great."
Davis maintains his commitment to Syracuse and the trip only helped their position. However, he still plans to take other visits.
The most intriguing school is N.C. State because of his connection to their new wide receivers coach George McDonald. He was Davis' primary recruiter at Syracuse and now assumes that role with the Wolfpack. That is a big reason why Davis is looking into them.
"I would say yes," he said. "Coach McDonald, I guess he just piggy backed off of him being at Syracuse and recruiting me. He popped in the tape and they (N.C. State staff) just loved it. They came down to see me, the defensive backs coach, and they were just telling me how much they loved me and they need me."
What would it take for one of those other schools to get Davis to change his mind?
"The connection and the welcoming I had at Syracuse was great," he said. "If I don't have that anywhere else I'll be canceling them off my list. Because Syracuse really made me feel like I was at home."