Syracuse hosted one of the most high profile recruits in recent memory from Sunday through Tuesday. Five-star tight end Chris Clark, who is transferring from UCLA, left the campus Tuesday afternoon with a positive impression of the Orange.
"It was really good, really good," Clark said. "I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed myself."
Clark said his host was freshman defensive end Jake Pickard, who Clark befriended during the camp circuit while both were high school prospects. Being able to reconnect with a friend and get insight into the program was a key highlight during his visit.
"He's my boy so it was cool to see him," Clark said. "He was saying that everyone on the team can feel the change coming in the program. They can feel what's about to happen. They've got this really good young quarterback. A lot of their really good players are all freshmen. They're all young. So everyone on the team believes they're about to do something really big in the next year or two."
Syracuse was the first school to offer Clark back in the summer of 2013. He quickly developed a strong relationship with the coaching staff, and being able to reconnect with them was another positive aspect of the trip.
"It was awesome spending time with the coaches," Clark said. "I really like all of them. I really like coach Lester a lot, coach Moreland and coach Adam. They are new coaches that weren't there when I was recruited a few years ago. They're all really good guys."
The next step for Syracuse is showing Clark how they would use his elite skill set within Tim Lester's offense. The five-star talent says mission accomplished and believes he could become a force in the system.
The opportunities I have in this offense are really good," Clark said. "It's really versatile with the looks of the offense and doing a lot of different things. That's something that really intrigues me. Just the opportunity to have a big impact at the Y spot. That's also something I really liked."
Something else that intrigues Clark? Becoming the high profile recruit that chooses Syracuse and starts the momentum of four and five-star prospects picking the Orange on a consistent basis.
"I could be the first really big time recruit Syracuse has gotten in a while," he said. "The five-star type guy. I feel like my being there would open the door for other kids. They'd wonder what's going on at Cuse and they'd want to look. Someone's got to be the first one to do it. So it'd be cool if that was me."
Clark said his parents had a good time on the trip as well. They enjoyed speaking with the coaches and getting an in-depth look at the Syracuse program. He plans on speaking with them even more on the trip home and over the next few days.
The Syracuse coaches and Jake Pickard were not the only ones Clark had a chance to reconnect with. Freshman defensive tackle Anthony Giudice also spent some time with Clark, and the two were able to just catch up and discuss each other's lives.
"It was cool to see Anthony," he said. "I hadn't seen him in a while so it was good to catch up. It was awesome. Anthony's a really good kid and I like him a lot. Like I said, I'm just really comfortable with a lot of guys on the team, which is really big. I've never felt that way with any other school. I know more guys at this school than I know at any other school."
Clark says that while the Syracuse visit went very well, he is still keeping an open mind about his transfer recruitment. He wants to check out Pitt and see what they have to offer. After that visit this coming weekend, he will evaluate where things stand.
At that point, he says he will likely have an idea where he wants to go, but will wait to announce until after watching the Orange and Panthers battle on the field on October 24th inside the Carrier Dome.