Name: Aaron 'PJ' Batten
Position: Tight End
Hometown: Miami, FL
High School: Dade Christian
2012 Stats: SUAthletics' brief bio has this tidbit: "Had four receptions for 67 yards and five touchdowns in his senior season" That doesn't math...that doesn't math at all.
2013 Projections: Batten is behind starter Beckett Wales and redshirt freshman Josh Parris on the depth chart, so I'm sure the hope is that he can redshirt. It's nice that we can get an extra year out of most of our guys now, a huge change from when we transitioned from Robinson to Marrone.
How'd He Get Here?: George McDonald never forgets:
"He couldn't help but watch as a 6-foot-4, 200-plus-pound kid ran the length of the field to chase down a defender that had just made an interception. Batten was furious that his quarterback had thrown a pick... so he turned on the jets that have made him one of the best sprinters in Florida and set the stage, without knowing it, for his opportunity to one day play for Syracuse. McDonald was a member of the Miami coaching staff at the time, but he has since become the Syracuse offensive coordinator after a brief stop at Arkansas. Once he was hired by SU head coach Scott Shafer, McDonald placed a phone call to the high school coach of the kid whose size and speed wowed him back in 2011. And it just so happened that Batten was without a scholarship offer from a big-six conference after earning the necessary SAT score very late in the recruiting process."
Batten was verbally committed to Kent State and had a dalliance with Duke before settling on Syracuse after McDonald's offer.
What'd Scout/Rivals Say?: Three stars from Rivals, two from Scout and 247.
Money Quote: On George McDonald:
"He’s like a father figure but he’s our age," Batten said. "He’s just a great guy. He keeps it real. He tells you how it’s going to go down, and he’s not going to lie."
Links of Wonder: More from Michael Cohen on how McDonald discovered Batten and brought him to Syracuse.
What Does Shafer Think: I feel like we're a year away from Shafer giving everyone on the team ridiculous Jon Gruden-style nicknames. "This guy Trejo, I call him machete, because he slices through offensive lines and is adept at clearing out annoying vegetation."
"He’s a kid I consider a two-fer – meaning he can play on either side of the ball. We want him to really excel for us at tight end. He gives us the ability to stretch the field vertically. He also does a good job of putting his face on people (blocking)."
Interesting Nugget O'Interest: Batten is FAAAAAST. Dude ran an 11.08 100 meter dash in the Florida Class 1A finals.
Let Us Get a Good Look Atchya:
Aaron Batten 2013 TE DE (via dcsbb)