One of the top players in the Northeast in the 2017 class resides in Connecticut in four-star athlete C.J. Holmes out of Cheshire Academy. Holmes has taken a few visits this winter and is prepared to visit another regional program on Saturday. He will spend the day on the campus at Syracuse checking out the Orange and getting to know the new staff.
Holmes was an early target of the previous staff at SU and has recently started speaking with the new coaches.
"I got the offer two weeks ago," he said. "The first time I really talked to the new staff was the night of the offer. Up until today, we just were trying to build a relationship. I mostly talk with coach Monroe."
Nick Monroe is the secondary coach at Syracuse and one of his recruiting areas is Connecticut. He has a reputation as being a strong recruiter and one that players really like. Holmes has only known him for a short time, but has a strong early impression.
"He's a high character, high energy guy," Holmes said. "He expresses a lot of interest in me, which is always greatly appreciated. I love his enthusiasm and attitude towards not just recruiting me but moving the program in a positive direction. Based off my initial encounters with him, I like him. I like him a lot."
Developing that relationship with not only coach Monroe but also the entire staff is something that is important to Holmes. When he visits on Saturday, he is looking to continue to do that.
"Considering that my recruitment is wide open personally and I'm weighing all my options, it's very important to see if I definitely fit," Holmes said. "See how I interact with the coaches because you never know, I might just end up at Syracuse."
Something else Holmes will be looking for is the fit within Dino Babers' offense. He is being recruited as a running back/slot receiver type, and is intrigued by the high powered offenses Babers has had in the past.
"I'm looking to play offense," Holmes said. "I believe that's what they are recruiting me for. To play running back or slot wide receiver. A high powered, fast paced offense definitely suits me as a player. So that's important for me and something I like about the changes in the program."
Saturday's visit is a big chance for Syracuse to make an impact on the recruitment of an elite prospect. An elite talent. Holmes is looking to see if there's a fit from both sides.
"I know from background information and previous visits that it's a prestigious academic school," he said. "I'm looking to see what they offer as far as academics for student-athletes, especially football players. I'm just looking to see if I like the campus, if I could see myself going there without football. God forbid anything happens.
"Just if I feel comfortable in Syracuse, New York."
Holmes is a four-star prospect who is rated as the 27th best athlete in the entire 2017 class and 3rd best in the East region.