Coming out of Newtown (Pa.) Council Rock North in the Class of 2011, defensive end John Raymon was a three-star prospect that opted to sign with Iowa over several more local offers. However, less than six months into his Hawkeye career – there was a change of plans.
After admitting he was homesick and that he didn't get along with his position coach, Raymon returned home to the Philadelphia area to the news that he would soon become a father. Nearly instantly, the entire Raymon family began thinking about local schools he could play at.
"Good program, good academics, and it's only four hours from home," he said of why he chose the Orange. "I was originally going to try to go to Temple, Maryland or Delaware – but obviously that didn't work out.
"We looked at every school in a five-hour radius."
Though not too far from Philly, Raymon admits that the relationship with SU's staff is not very established although the dedication Doug Marrone and company displayed ultimately influenced the decision.
"We just started talking about a month ago, and they just started getting on the ball with everything like the waiver, getting me accepted and everything," said Raymon. "They just really made me feel like I would succeed there, and I know I can.
"I just wanted to be home again. I'm ready to help myself."
Not only was the Orange staff prompt, but it went the extra mile to land the transfer.
"Before they even met me, they were doing do much for me from talking to professors for recommendation letters and everything," said Raymon. "Then when I came on campus, they took me on a tour and they were letting me know how much they wanted me there.
"I just kind of bonded with the D-line coach (Tim Daoust). It's a great place, and I'm lucky to be going there."
Raymon has a quick turnaround from decision to the first day of classes considering he will enroll next week. What is not so sure and unsettled, however, is exactly how much eligibility he will have with SU. He didn't play in 2011 because of an injury before he decided to leave Iowa, so there is still plenty to be settled with the Big Ten and the NCAA.
"If I get the waiver, then I'll be a redshirt freshman and I'll have four years (to play)," he said. "We're waiting for Iowa to get some paperwork to Syracuse and the Big Ten...If not, Syracuse will present to the NCAA to get the waiver.
"It's not a question of when I'll get it, it's who I'll get it from."
The worst-case scenario for Raymon is sitting out the 2012 season with three years of eligibility remaining going forward.
No matter when he will be able to play, the big defensive end is even bigger, stronger and faster than he was as a prep star.
"Coming from Iowa, that's one of the biggest strength and conditioning programs in the country," said Raymon. "I've also been training with my trainer back home at my local gym…doing everything you can think of.
"I'm not worried about the lifting and running aspect."
The former Hawkeye plans on majoring in sports marketing and minoring in hospitality while at Syracuse, which he admits will be a challenge depending on what credits transfer over. But no matter how tough the academics get, the addition to his family will be a bit tougher to adjust to even though he's much closer to home.
Said Raymon, "I had a son in December, on December 26. I spent Father's Day with him; he's turning six months tomorrow. I can't go too far away from him; I want him to come see my games. We talked about him coming up to Syracuse in the fall."