Wallingford (Conn.) Choate Rosemary middle linebacker Zachary Kastenhuber visited Syracuse last week. It was not his first time on campus, but was the first time he was able to get an in-depth look at the football program. The three-star was impressed by what he saw while observing spring practice.
”I definitely liked how they ran the practice,” Kastenhuber said. “Most teams split it up, but it really felt like there were two different teams. Not in a bad way, but in a good way. Everybody was battling against each other and everyone who got on the field was really trying.
”The energy was just insane compared to a high school practice because everyone there was trying to earn or keep their position. So it was definitely a high tempo, energetic practice, which was nice to watch.”
On top of practice, Kastenhuber was able to check out Syracuse’s facilities. Not only did the new indoor practice facility make an impression, so did all of the other Orange amenities.
”I was very impressed with the facilities,” Kastenhuber said. “I didn’t get to see the Carrier Dome, but I’ve seen it before and really liked that. The new indoor facility was unbelievable. The new turf felt really nice. The weight room was nice as well. It was very nice with lots of windows which kept it natural lighting. That was nice because a lot of times you see weight rooms in basements and things. It being on the ground level where you can be out and exposed but still have the nice light is good.
”I was very impressed with the coaches. I felt a great vibe. That warm, fuzzy feeling that everyone talks about, I definitely received that from the coaches. As soon as I got there, I knew I was being treated right. I just felt, in general, that I had a really good experience.”
During the visit, the 6-foot-1 linebacker was offered by Syracuse. It came as a bit of a surprise, but brought a big smile to his face.
”I got there first and then we did a quick tour,” Kastenhuber said. “Then we watched the practice. It was about a two-hour practice. We hung around after and as the players dispersed, I talked to a couple of guys. Then I started actually talking to the coaches. Then I met the head coach (Scott Shafer) and his wife and basically the whole coaching staff. We just talked and they asked how I was doing, how were my academics and things like that.
”Then I talked more with my position coach, the linebackers coach (Clark Lea). We just talked about what I need to play at that school. So then that went well and then my father and I had a conversation with my recruiting coach and coach Shafer. Basically he said, as I was leaving, ‘we’d like to offer you a full scholarship here. And he just explained how it’s an ACC offer and what it entitles. I just looked at my father and smiled because I was that happy and couldn’t control it. I was pretty surprised.”
It is still very early in the recruiting process for Kastenhuber, who has a lot of interest in the Orange. He plans to attend various camps over the summer to see what his options are at that point. Still, he plans to return to Syracuse as well during that time for more unofficial visits.
”Syracuse is definitely at the top of my list for offers,” Kastenhuber said. “It’s my only ACC offer. I have UConn as well. I like UConn, but like I said, playing in the ACC for a power five program is a lot nicer. I just got that right feeling. I don’t really have a ranking yet. I’m still new to the recruiting process and my name is still not really out there yet. As of right now, Syracuse is one of my favorite visits.”