Syracuse has received an early commitment from a 2017 preferred walk-on. Receiving one this far in advance of National Signing Day is rare, but apparently not impossible.
Woodberry (Va.) Forest athlete Connor Koch committed to the Orange as a preferred walk-on fullback on Thursday.
"I have strong family connections," Koch said. "The academics that the school offered for what I want to major in (business/communications) were something I couldn't pass on."
Those family connections include his grandparents on his father's side attending Syracuse. He also knows Jim Gaughan, who played linebacker for the Orange in the late 80's.
The situation developed rather quickly. On Monday, Mike Hart stopped by Woodberry Forest High to check out two of his teammates, three-star tight end John Kirven and three-star wide receiver Terrell Jana. Hart came back with Reno Ferri to watch practice, and immediately noticed Koch.
"I came back to my phone after practice on Tuesday afternoon and had a message from coach Hart laying out the situation," he said. "How they would take me on the offensive side of the ball and as a preferred walk-on. It was very quick."
Two days later, Koch committed to coach Hart.
"He was glad that I decided to take advantage of the opportunity," Koch said. "To keep working hard on the field and in the classroom. That we'd be in contact in the near future about a visit and just getting to know each other more."
Koch did not have any offers, but said he was receiving interest from Virginia, The Citadel, TCU and Georgia. He says he envision his decision changing at all even with a scholarship offer, saying he is "pretty firm" with his commitment.
Koch is listed at 6-foot-3, 248 pounds and runs a 4.86 40-time. He also played linebacker and defensive end at Woodberry Forest High. You can view his highlights on Hudl HERE.