The Syracuse Orange football program had a visitor on from a 2018 wide receiver who is not from a traditional pipeline. Chase Van Wagoner is from Lovejoy High in Texas, and took an unofficial visit that started on Monday and lasted until Wednesday morning. Van Wagoner spent the trip getting a closer look at the program and the Orange coaches.
"We landed and as soon as we got off the plane, I was getting texts from coaches asking me to keep them updated on where I'm at and when I arrive on campus," Van Wagoner said. "Super impressed by that. As soon as I told the tour guy I was on my way to the facility, he said he was waiting outside for me so he could waive down the taxi and walk with me inside.
"First thing I see when I walk in (the football building) is six or seven coaches waiting for me in a semi circle. Waiting to meet me and shake my hand. (It) made me feel like a VIP. That was awesome. Then I talked with the QB coach in his office with my mom and he had very good questions. We talked about his personal life in addition to football."
From there, the 6-foot-1 wideout was given a tour of the athletic and football facilities. He said they were "great." Van Wagoner met up with wide receivers coach Kim McCloud. Van Wagoner, his mom and coach McCloud hung out for a little bit and got to know each other better.
From there, the Lovejoy High standout was able to spend time with a couple of the players, even going to Dave and Busters with them at the mall. But there was much more to see and do during the trip.
"(Tuesday) morning I got to watch the team lift because it was a bench day and I had to see that," Van Wagoner said. "After that, I went to the Whitman School of Management and talked to the main lady there. (We) toured the entire building and learned a lot about what I wanted to major in. Then I toured the rest of the campus and drove around a bit with the tour and wide receivers coach."
Next up was a meeting with head coach Dino Babers in his office.
"Basically his personal info and stuff about his family," Van Wagoner said. "Also about how he cares a lot about his players and how faith, family and football are most important. As well as creating and teaching all his players to be great men, husbands and fathers."
Van Wagoner enjoyed spending time with the Syracuse players and doing a photo shoot where he tried on one of the football uniforms. Overall, it was a trip that not only showcased the program and the coaches, but made Van Wagoner feel like a "VIP" as he routinely described.
During the visit, the offer was made official. During prior communications, the coaches indicated that they really liked him and wanted to extend an offer. But a visit would allow them to do it in person. Once Van Wagoner learned that, he scheduled one as soon as possible.
Syracuse is the first power five offer for Van Wagoner, and that is something he will not forget. He plans to come back to campus for a spring practice and/or over the summer for a camp.