Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge athlete Tyrek Tisdale is a do it all prospect who has potential on both sides of the ball. That dynamic ability is why a plethora of schools are in hot pursuit, including Syracuse, which has had a lot of success in recent years in the Sunshine State.
Tisdale is a former Florida Gator pledge who reopened his recruitment and started looking around. The Orange received an official visit from Tisdale last weekend, the second of the five he is allowed to take.
After having a few days to reflect on his experience, Tisdale noted one apsect that stood out immediately and upon further review.
"It was a pretty good visit," he said. "I got to see a different part of New York in Upstate. They have a number one hospital. They have a number one business program and a top end sports management program. It was pretty interesting going to the college and seeing new things outside of the state of Florida.
"I got to visit other students who told me it was a good school. They told me you get a good degree. In the sports management program, you get to visit different places for 14 weeks. There were some good things involved in the visit other than just football."
Academics are extremely important to Tisdale and his final decision. That was why he wanted to see what Syracuse had to offer and spent so much time evaluating their programs.
"That's the number one thing that's going to carry you through college is academics," Tisdale said. "That'll carry you through life. Without academics, you won't be able to succeed. That will play a big factor for me."
Another highlight was watching Syracuse go toe-to-toe with the nation's number one team, Clemson. Despite not pulling off the upset, Tisdal was impressed by what he saw.
"Seeing the school that just came out of the Big East conference with juniors and seniors as Big East players with freshmen and sophomores as ACC players, that's kind of a hard mix," he said. "Then again, they made it work. They worked real hard.
"They spared 14 points in the first two, three minutes of the game with the turnover. They came back though. They played very good. They impressed me. They played against a great team. They battled and put Clemson on their heels. They gave them a run for their money."
An important aspect of every official visit is spending time with the coaching staff. This one was no different as Tisdale was able to communicate with nearly everyone on the staff.
On the last day of the visit, it was time to sit down with head coach Scott Shafer and discuss football, their backgrounds and more.
"My conversation with coach Shafer was pretty good," Tisdale said. "He told me his life story and how he wanted to study African-American people and athletes. He wanted to study their society and how to related to where they're from and how things set up for them and how they live.
"You don't hear people say that so that really impressed me."
Tisdale said the rest of the coaches reiterated the message that Syracuse is more than just football. That football only lasts so long but their program sets you up for the rest of your life. That pitch was something Tisdale found interesting and unique about the Orange.
"They told us that it was a good academic school," Tisdale said. "Also, they're a private university. That's something that I had never visited a private university before. That was my first one. It was pretty good.
"The players, they were pretty cool."
"It was pretty fun being there with my teammates," Tisdale said. "We planned on taking one or two of our visits together. It was pretty fun. We all enjoyed the visit. It was a real good visit."
Overall, Tisdale was impressed with Syracuse. The combination of academics, a rising football program and a family environment make the Orange an attractive option for the three-star prospect.
"It was a good impact," Tisdale said. "I've still go three more visits left to go. Syracuse is in my top schools. I haven't made any decisions yet."
Tisdale added that his final decision could come in January or he may opt to wait until national signing day.