Syracuse is in the market for defensive backs after dropping Andrew Spence for academic concerns. Defensive backs coach Fred Reed went down to Mountain View High in Lawrenceville (Ga.) to speak with defensive back prospect Kielan Whitner. Despite being committed to Appalachian State, coach Reed extended an offer to the 6-foot-0 defensive back.
”Coach Reed, he actually came by my house right when I got out of school,” Whitner said. “He offered me and everything. They like that I can play man-to-man coverage. They like my length and size. That I can make plays on the ball and tackle, that’s why they want me at the safety position.”
While the offer did not change his commitment status, it was enough to warrant a trip to Central New York.
”I’m going to visit Syracuse this weekend,” Whitner said. “Appalachian State has been around from the very beginning. I’m not in any way decommitting from Appalachian State or anything. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned or anything like that.”
Whitner said that Syracuse had been in touch previously, showing interest several months back. But they were looking at him as a cornerback at the time and told him they were looking for something different at the position. Now, they evaluated him as a safety and liked what they saw.
Despite only having a little bit of communication with coach Reed, Whitner has a positive impression of him at this point.
”He seems like a really nice guy,” he said. “He’s a good person. He’s always been straight up with me with where we are at in the recruiting process. He also seems like a real family guy. Very family oriented. He seems like he really wants what’s best for me. But he also seems like a really good coach. Knows how to be tough on kids but not too tough.”
While on campus this weekend, Whitner wants to get as much of the Syracuse experience as possible to see if it is the right fit.
”I’m really big into the education side of things,” Whitner said. “So I’m definitely going to look hard into the education aspect of things. I want to check out the facilities and the coaches. Get a feel for the atmosphere of the program. I can’t get a game day feel, but see how the community reacts to Syracuse football and Syracuse sports.”
When Whitner makes the trek north, he will arrive on the Syracuse campus where there will be a familiar face.
”I only know one guy who is up there right now,” Whitner said. “Jonathan Thomas, linebacker from Collins Hills high school. We played against each other and he actually lived right down the street from me. I’ve known him for a while. I’ll probably text him or talk to him when I’m on the visit.”
Whitner said he hopes to decide within a day or so after his official visit as he does not want it to drag out until signing day.