Few class of 2016 Syracuse football targets have elicited the hype and attention of four star Huntersville (N.C.) SouthLake Christian running back Robert Washington. The Orange were one of the first schools to offer the talented back, and have recruited him hard ever since.
"I have love for ‘Cuse," Washington said. "They’ve been recruiting me for a long time. They were like my fifth offer. Since they’ve been recruiting me for so long, and I’ve been talking with coach (Eric) White, (running backs) coach (DeAndre) Smith, I definitely have a great relationship with them. They’ve been recruiting me for over two years."
The relationship he has developed with the coaching staff is a strong one. He says he speaks to both Eric White and head coach Scott Scott on a daily basis. They contact him on Twitter through direct messages. The constant communication serves as evidence that he is still one of their top targets.
Other schools in the mix for that last slot include Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, California, Duke, Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Mississippi, Mississippi State, NC State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford, Tennessee, USC, UCLA, Wisconsin and others.
So how does Syracuse win a recruiting battle against college football's elite? Early playing time, the aforementioned relationship with the coaching staff and of course, a little history.
"Ernie Davis, that was my favorite movie for a long time," Washington said. "I used to watch it every day. The Express. When I first saw it, I didn’t know much about the 44 history, but when I watched the movie, I was like ‘Cuse!’ A couple years later they started recruited me. The running back history holds importance to me.
"Jim Brown, Floyd Little and Ernie. I know Jim Brown went into the hall of fame. The number one lure for me at Syracuse is wearing the #44. That is really intriguing to me.”
On April 25th, Syracuse will have a chance to shock the college football recruiting world. Regardless of a win or loss, his recruitment will be far from over. There will be over nine months until national signing day. During that span, programs will continue to recruit him hard. If Syracuse loses, they will be among them. If they win, they will have to hold off several hard charging elite programs for what will seem like eternity for Orange fans.
A win would really help with the rest of the class. It would send a signal to other elite recruits that Syracuse is a strong option. April 25th will help shape Syracuse's 2016 class one way or another.