Strickland Loves Syracuse Official

Orange running back pledge raves about official visit to his future home.

Syracuse hosted eight players during a big official visit weekend, five of which were already committed to the Orange. One of those players was Monmouth Junction (N.J.) South Brunswick running back Dontae Strickland.

"It was another great experience being out there for a whole weekend," he said. "Really got a good feel for the campus and all that. We went on tours of the campus, football facilities, academic campuses as well.

"The best part of the visit had to be kicking back with the players, meeting them and hearing what they had to say about 'Cuse. Welcoming us into a new brotherhood that we will have for the rest of our lives."

Strickland spent a lot of time with his player host Ervin Philips. The two had developed a friendship previously, and that only continued during this visit.

"My host was Erv," Strickland said. "I had met Erv two years ago at the one day Rutgers prospect camp, so we have a pretty good relationship. The fact that we're the same position, with similar philosophies for the game, it was just us catching up from where we left off.

"He had all amazing things to say about Syracuse, and just got me really excited to get up there in July and crank things up."

Another highlight for Strickland was spending time with his future coaching. He strengthened his bond with them throughout the trip.

"All the coaches got around to me," he said. "I spent a lot of time with (head coach Scott) Shafer, (running backs coach DeAndre) Smith, (tight ends) coach (Bobby) Acosta and (offensive coordinator (Tim) Lester. All of them are great and I can't wait to get up there.

"They were just telling me about how they feel about me, and that they cannot wait to get me up there and be able to work with me."

Strickland was not the only New Jersey player on campus. With him was fellow Orange pledge Daivon Ellison and targets Jake Pickard and Najee Clayton. He believes Pickard and Clayton were very impressed by Syracuse.

"It was just cool to know you got people around your area with you," Strickland said. "Yes it did (make it more fun) cause we all had a lot in common and enjoyed it together. They both (Pickard and Clayton) had nothing but good things to say about it and I think they definitely have Syracuse in their top schools. I'm helping out as much as I can to get some more jersey guys aboard."

Syracuse coaches went to visit Strickland at his home on Monday. The fact that the Orange continue to recruit him despite being committed has left a big impression on the three star running back.

"Yes, and it just shows me how much they want me," Strickland said. "That they stay true there word, and it just makes our relationship stronger and stronger."

The official visit and subsequent in-home only reinforced Strickland's belief that he made the right decision in choosing Syracuse.

"Of course," he said. "Ever since I committed there was no second thoughts about it, I'm sticking with them no matter what."


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