The Syracuse coaching staff was looking to add another receiver to the mix for the 2013 season, especially with Keenan Hale going down for the year with an injury. They received a commitment from Miramar High (FL) standout Sean Avant on Saturday, nearly three months after national signing day.
"In the spring, Coach Shafer came to see me when he was still the defensive coach," Avant recalled. "At that time I had several offers to pick from. I was looking at things and narrowing things down. I guess the Syracuse head coach that was there, he didn't want any more receivers. I was taking a pretty long time to commit, so some of the schools I was looking at started trimming their lists down real short. I was sort of shopping around after that.
"Coach Shafer got the head job, and I got back in touch with him and George McDonald. He was recruiting me when he was the University of Miami so I knew him for over a year and a half, almost two years. I already knew what he was about. It was a good opportunity with him being the OC (offensive coordinator). I knew Coach Shafer so him being the head coach made it real good. He got me up here for a visit and I'm spending time with Keon Lyn, a former Miramar player. I'm enjoying myself so I decided I was ready to commit."
There was more to the Orange than just Lyn, however. Avant also liked the campus, the coaches, and the atmosphere at Syracuse.
"I met some of the players, but I didn't meet all of them," Avant explained. "The players are cool. The only thing I'll have to get used to is the weather. The weather was nice up here while I've been here but I know it gets cold. It's a nice campus. I had a chance to meet some people and learn a little history about Syracuse. I just enjoyed the campus a lot and enjoyed myself. Especially Keon.
"The coaches, I'm real cool with. Coach McDonald and Coach Shafer. I had a chance to meet the receivers coach (Rob Moore). He's been in the NFL so he can teach me a few things. He's a really nice coach. When you go to a school you also want to know how the academics are. This school has real good academics. I feel comfortable being here for the next four years of my life."
The two star receiver received advice from his fellow Miramar High graduate. Lyn was able to give him a rundown of campus life, the program, and more.
"He told me that when you come up here it's a new lifestyle," Avant described. "During the winter it does get cold but you get used to it. You're going to be out and about so you have to get used to it. He's used to it so I know I will. He just said I have to be ready to work hard. Things like that.
"He told me how the schedules go being a freshman. He told me how some of the classes are. He told me how you do in school relates to where you live. Like if you have a high GPA you can move into some place real nice by your senior year. He showed me around where he lives, which is a real nice apartment building. He was just telling me different things on how to get started when I get up here."
While the visit was not yet complete, Avant had seen all he needed in order to make his decision. When new head coach Scott Shafer asked him the question, the answer was easy.
"I committed to Coach Shafer," Avant admitted. "He asked if I'd come here and I said 'yeah I'll come.' He got up and he was happy. Coach George, he was also happy. I know he wants to coach me and Coach Shafer was real happy. They said they'll see me up here and can't wait for it. I could see they were really happy.
"That was something we talked about was making an impact right away. It's not given to you, you have to earn it. But I'm a hard working athlete, and I feel like I can make anything happen. I feel I can get on the field right away."
Avant likes the Syracuse offensive system and believes he fits in very well. So well, in fact, that he believes he can make an immediate impact.
"My goal is to first earn a starting spot and get on the field," Avant claimed. "I want to make an impact early. Really just making a difference in the offense and being a threat to the defense. Being a game changer and creating a game changing moment for the team.
"That's really what I want, but I'll worry about that later. Getting on the field and making an impact and giving the coaches what they want, but my individual goals will come later down the line. When I get in here and get settled down, that will take care of itself. I just want to come in, give them what I got, work hard to get on the field early. Then I'll worry about my individual goals later."
Avant said he is planning to arrive on the Syracuse campus in mid to late June.