Central Pa. QB Eyeing Syracuse

Though his individual profile may have taken a hit because he played on a young, struggling team as a junior, quarterback Nick Raven of North Pocono is Moscow, Pa., has managed to get onto the radar of several major college programs by showing well at combines and camps. Syracuse is among several schools tracking Raven, and it's safe to say the interest is mutual.

Raven, whose family used to live in Utica, has been to Syracuse on quite a few occasions, whether it was summer basketball camp, trips to watch local hero Gerry McNamara play for the Orange basketball team, or his unofficial visit for the South Florida game last season.

"I think he really wants to get back to Syracuse," said David Raven, the father of the 6-foot-3, 202-pound junior signal caller. "One of our neighbors [Jim Gaughn] played at Syracuse so he's always talking positively about their program. I think they've had their struggles but they're [on an upswing] … For us, the proximity to Syracuse is great and they're certainly very good academically."

Speaking of which, academics will be the No. 1 priority for Raven, followed by the opportunity to play and proximity to home. Stanford, which has expressed some interest in Raven – a 3.5 honors student – seems to be the one exception to the rule location-wise because of its elite academic reputation.

Syracuse "has a great reputation academically," the elder Raven said.

Nick Raven has already shown his wares on several big stages. He spent three days at Purdue's elite camp and also was named an honorable-mention all-combine performer out of the 3,000-plus players to participate in last year's national underclassman combine. He runs a 4.6 40-yard dash with the ability to make plays on the run, has a strong arm and is unafraid of contact. He's also learning under Pocono quarterbacks coach Dave Smith, who backed up Kerry Collins at Penn State.

"From what I have heard from the coaches, they say he has the mobility and the size," David Raven said. "One guy said he was freakishly athletic."

The Raven family has no plans to rush into any decisions. Along with SU, Rutgers, Michigan State, Stanford, Bowling Green and Buffalo are showing steady interest. Raven will use the summer to show his wares at a multitude of still-undetermined camps, but will then focus on turning things around for Pocono, which struggled with youth and finished 2-8 last season.

With a strong showing this spring and summer, along with a good senior year, Raven could prove to be a hot commodity next fall. It's safe to say SU will be one of the schools watching closely, and Raven will be paying close attention to the Orange as well.

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