Syracuse won an intense recruiting battle to land four-star tight end Ravian Pierce. They were able to land the prized recruit by beating multiple SEC powers and other high profile programs. So why did Pierce opt for the Orange over programs those types of schools?
"I just felt the love there," Pierce said. "Just the opportunity of being able to play and them getting me the ball."
Pierce said throughout the recruitment, Syracuse showed him the most love and that they wanted him the most. That went a long way in his decision. The response from the fan base on social media and during his official visit was also important. He said it showed him the passion in the fan base.
While the fans certainly had their impact on Pierce's decision, so did Dino Babers' offense. A offense that has a reputation for putting receivers in position to put up big time numbers. Numbers that appear to be video game like, such as those accumulated by Amba Etta-Tawo this season.
The offense has not, however, had a tight end with wide receiver skills. A new age tight end that gives Syracuse a lot of options. Pierce said Babers' message to him about how he will be used within the offense was too attractive to pass up.
"Attached tight end, detached, slot receiver on the outside," Pierce said. "Pretty much anywhere. Being able to show off my skills to NFL scouts and show my versatility. I can do it all."
All of those factors in Pierce's decision were important. But Syracuse would not have even had the opportunity to be seriously involved in Pierce's recruitment if not for assistant Nick Monroe. A long standing relationship dating back to Pierce's high school days got the Orange's proverbial foot in the door.
"It played a big role into it," he said. Having him there since I was in high school and even when I was signing with Mississippi State. It played a big part. We have a special bond."
What then pushed Syracuse to the forefront of Pierce's recruitment after the relationship with coach Monroe and the attractiveness and opportunity of the Babers' offense was the official visit. That was what showed Pierce he had found his future home.
"I enjoyed everything about the visit. There wasn't a bad thing about it. The school, the facilities, the Carrier Dome, the dorms, I enjoyed everything. It was beautiful.
"Every visit you go on you have a good time. I just liked Syracuse better than anywhere else."
Pierce is expected to compete for the starting tight end spot right away. In fact, it would be a surprise if he did not win that job. With that in mind, his goal for his time with the Orange is simple. Help get the program back to where it once was.
"I see an opportunity to be able to get on this train and help the team," Pierce said. "To get back on the map. To be able to go back and say I was there when this happened.
"I'm going to be focused. I'm not going to say I'll do this or that, I'm just going to show it."