During his official visit to Syracuse, three-star quarterback Rex Culpepper got to see many of the things he had seen in the past. The facilities, the meeting rooms, the campus, the Carrier Dome, the dorms, etc. But this visit was about much more than that. More than the school, more than the players.
Culpepper had already committed to all of that. He did so, however, to a coaching staff that was no longer there. They had been replaced as administration felt a change was needed. This trip was about meeting the new guys. Making sure the fit remains as perfect as originally thought.
"The best part was definitely meeting the new coaches," Culpepper said. "I absolutely loved (co-offensive coordinator) coach (Sean) Lewis and (head) coach (Dino) Babers. They immediately felt like family. It started off as very routine.
"The more and more I got to know the coaches, the better and better our relationship got."
Beyond just developing a relationship with the coaches, the fit is about scheme as much as it about the bond between player and coach. During his official visit, Culpepper was able to spend time getting an inside look at the offense with some film review.
"Coach showed me film of the Bowling Green offense," he said. "I think I fit it beautifully. Not to mention, if they've got guys repeatedly throwing for 5,000 yards, they are doign something right."
"I hung out with Sam Clausman and Jake Pickard the most," Culpepper said. "I made great friends with them and have been talking to them ever since the visit. I love how inclusive the team was.
"They are all buying in. All of the players I talked to were on board and excited."
That includes quarterback Eric Dungey, who Culpepper said he spoke with a few times during the visit. He said they got along great during the trip, though they did not discuss the new coaches. Rex did add, however, that as far as he knows Dungey is staying.
With Culpepper on the trip were his parents. Their seal of approval was just as important as his. Safe to say he got that after the visit had concluded.
"My parents loved the new coaches and spoke with them extensively," Culpepper said.
His parents were not the only important person with him on the trip. Fellow Syracuse commit Scoop Bradshaw, a three-star safety, was also on his official visit. The Tampa (Fla.) Plant teammates were able to get a real feel for what life is like as a Syracuse football players.
"Scoop absolutely loved it," Culpepper said. "It definitely solidified his commitment."
Culpepper is set to arrive on campus next month, when he will start his collegiate career and get a head start on learning coach Babers' offense. Bradshaw will not join him until the summer.