Moe Neal's official visit to Syracuse was not about checking out the facilities, getting to know the campus or even hanging out with the players. Neal had done all of that during his four previous visits to the school. This was about getting to know the new Orange coaches who replaced the staff he committed to over the summer.
In addition to that, Neal said he ate very well, including at Dave and Busters on Friday. The food was one of the highlights of the trip, but so was spending time with the new coaches.
"The overall visit, I had a great time," Neal said. "I had a wonderful experience with the new coaching staff. Getting to meet some of them. The whole staff's not done yet, but getting to meet the staff that's there already coming from Bowling Green. Getting to meet coach Babers, the head coach.
"Getting to finally meet him in person for the first and talk to him to see how he does things. It was a great experience."
Even though Neal had an in-home visit with assistant coach Kim McCloud, he had not met head coach Dino Babers yet. Neal felt comfortable with his future head coach right away.
"My first impression of coach Babers is that he's a good guy," Neal said. "I heard he's a good coach and he's used to winning. He's been winning at every school he's been at and he's going to change the program around. It's just good to have him as a head coach.
"I believe in him and he believes in me. Hopefully we get this ball rolling and turn this thing around."
The plan for using Moe Neal is simple, once he arrives on campus. Get him the ball and let him make plays both as a receiver and running back. That's a message that came directly from coach Babers during the visit.
"Just getting the ball in space," Neal said. "Create plays, and like he said, he loves scoring points. He's going to get his playmakers the ball. I've got a good shot at coming in and competing for a starting spot or cracking the rotation as a true freshman. So that's my plan going in, in January.
"They'll throw it to me, hand it to me and pitch it to me."
Not only was Neal enjoying himself on campus, but he was there while other players were as well. That includes prospects who had not committed to Syracuse entering the trip. One did before heading home in three-star linebacker Kenneth Ruff, and Neal was able to bond with him right away.
"It was great," Neal said. "I first met him on Friday. He said he was committed to Virginia but was probably going to decommit from there. He never said anything about committing to Syracuse. I think he had a good time. With us being around him and in his ear, it felt like Syracuse was the place for him. It was a great time with him committing and us being there and bonding. Everybody that was there either was committed or ended up committing.
"The cornerback, Carl Jones, he committed a couple days ago. It's a good thing. We had the offensive lineman Liam (O'Sullivan) he committed a couple days ago. We all bonded and I think that's why a couple of those guys ended up committing. Just with our bond and everybody's on the same page. Everybody just wants to win ball games."
Neal said his host for the trip was freshman running back Jordan Fredericks, but he also spent a lot of time with Ervin Philips and Dontae Strickland. In addition, Neal ran in to wide receiver Steve Ishmael and quarterback Eric Dungey.
"Yes sir they have (bought in)," Neal said. "They like him. They all loved coach Shafer and he was like a father figure. He really helped those guys out a lot. He's gone but they're buying in to what Babers is bringing into the program."
Neal is set to arrive on campus in a few weeks as an early enrollee. He is excited about getting started with his Syracuse career.
"I'm just eager to start the next chapter of my life and achieve my dreams of playing college football," he said. "I can't wait to get started and take it all in. I know it's going to be an experience of a lifetime that I'll never forget. So I'll just embrace it and go strong."null