Highly touted Pierce remained loyal to SU

The calls kept coming for Jermaine Pierce – from Miami, from Michigan and from various other big-name programs – but Pierce hardly ever waved, his coach says. After enrolling at Milford Academy (N.Y.) as a Syracuse commitment, Pierce had plenty of flashy options waved in front of him, but he stuck to his word all along and yesterday made it official, signing to play for the Orange.

"Everyone, when they saw his tape, inquired about him," Milford coach Bob Chaplick said. "He's very loyal."

"He came in committed [and] could have gone to a lot of bigger schools, but he likes Syracuse and is happy to be going there."

And because of that loyalty, SU has itself one of the best middle linebacker prospects in the nation. Pierce, a four-star prospect rated as the best recruit in Syracuse's incoming class, is the type of player the program needs to turn the corner.

"One of the better linebackers, sideline to sideline, in the country," Chaplick said of Pierce, who committed to Syracuse while attending Kennedy-Kenrick High in Pennsylvania."

Pierce is a menacing presence for opposing ball carriers. He's grown to 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, but maintains his 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash.

"He's a definite hitter, just what Syracuse needs," Chaplick said.

Since Milford Academy does not play in a league or conference, Pierce's only honor this year was being named the team's defensive points leader. His final stats: 81 solo tackles, 12 assisted tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble.

Chaplick also said he expects Pierce will be fine academically as long as he keeps working as he has been. He's expected to arrive this fall. And when he does, Chaplick said, there's no doubt what he'll bring to the table.

"He'll be a leader up there, kids will follow him. Should be a captain of the team [eventually]. He's definitely a leader and not a follower," he said.

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