An eventful few days for Syracuse continued on Sunday, as Kielan Whitner flipped his commitment from Appalachian State to Syracuse. The staff quickly identified Whitner as a potential fit after Andrew Spence had his scholarship offer pulled, and got him up to campus to visit.
While most of the coaches are still on the road recruiting, the Orange still were able to show off their family atmosphere this weekend and make Whitner believe this was the best place for him. Whitner also probably had a prior relationship with new coach Jake Moreland, as he had an Air Force offer. Kielan also had offers from Army, Yale, and Harvard, so he's definitely not an academic risk.
The Mountain View HS player will sign his Letter of Intent on Wednesday to make the commitment official. I'm always a big fan of bringing in kids with Ivy offers, as the intelligence they need to get those usually shows up on the field. We'll see how this will pay off.
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First and foremost, Whitner has great size. 6'1'' as a defensive back is huge, and fits the mold of the type of kids Scott Shafer and Fred Reed have been bringing in at that position (outside of Daivon Ellison). Just from watching the first minute of his tape, you can tell he deserves those Ivy league and service academy offers. He's smart, disciplined, and clearly knows what's going on in front of him.
His reaction time is excellent and you can tell that once he gets to Syracuse and does even more tape review that this will get even better. It's impressive to me how many times in this video he gets his hands on the football. Whitner always seems to be in a great position to make plays and I think he'll fit our defense well. His tackling is hit or miss, he shows good form but likes to go for the big hit and not wrap up completely, so that's something that could use a bit of work.
Credit on the staff for quickly identifying what they were looking for as Whitner appears to be another under the radar type that pays big dividends for us.