Dontae Strickland walked onto campus Saturday morning as a Viking. He'll leave as a future Orange.
The 6-0 and 180 pound running back verbally committed to Syracuse on the same day he made his second campus visit. Strickland, from South Brunswick (N.J.), will leave the Garden State and join SU's Class of 2015.
Like a fellow Jersey boy once said, "We got to get out while we're young".
He ranked No. 19 in NJ.com's Top 50 in-state recruits. Besides Syracuse, Strickland had nine other offers, most notably from Rutgers as well as Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia. He becomes the ninth member of SU's recruiting class. That group includes two other running backs, Jordan Fredericks and Tyrone Perkins.
Strickland is the only player from New Jersey, but that may change quickly. His commitment could have a domino effect through the state.
Strickland developed a close friendship with Daivon Ellison, a cornerback from Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.) Ellison has an offer from Syracuse and also visited on Saturday. A few weeks ago, he told NJ.com that he wants to be teammates with Strickland.
"Yeah, we definitely want to play together," said Ellison. "It's a very high percentage, like very high."
Ellison has also spoken with D'won Walker and Jordan Fox (St. Peter's Prep) about playing together. Walker and Fox visit Syracuse on Sunday, according to the Star-Ledger.
This season, tight ends coach Bobby Acosta gives SU something they lacked last year -- someone with strong connections to New Jersey football. He worked at TCNJ, Rowan and two high schools in the state. Now, he has followed through on Scott Shafer's desire to get back into New Jersey. Those ripples will reverberate all the way down to Piscataway.
Your move, Rutgers.