Enrique Cruz Talks Commitment
Monday night was an exciting time to be a fan of Syracuse football as Enrique Cruz, one of the top recruits in the last decade to pledge Orange, officially committed. From Villa Park (IL) Willowbrook, Cruz is rated as a four-star player according to 247sports.com. The 6-foot-5, 252-pound offensive tackle becomes the 20th commitment in the ever-growing Class of 2021 and the fifth offensive linemen in the group, joining Austyn Kauhi, Kalan Ellis, Wes Hoeh, and Tyler Mangnuson.
When asked why Syracuse was his top choice, Cruz credited the Orange coaching staff for making him feel at home.
"I felt the most comfortable at Syracuse," said Cruz."The coaches, I like. Me and my family spent lots of time with the coaches and we visited different schools over the summer and we felt most comfortable at Syracuse."
Cruz took a walking visit to Syracuse early in July, where he did not meet with the coaching staff (NCAA restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic) but was able to walk around and get a feel for the campus. He visited other schools over the summer, as well. Cruz's top choices, other than Syracuse, included the University of Arizona and Utah. So what exactly separated Syracuse from those two when it came down to decision time?
"I was watching some of the games and I was just like 'I wanna play there, I wanna play there, I wanna play there'. I just felt like that's where I wanted to go."
Cruz's primary recruiters at Syracuse were running backs coach Mike Lynch and offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh. Two men who Cruz couldn't stop praising because of the time and effort they put it into recruiting him. Not to mention, his family loved both men and insisted on having the two coaches at family events.
"We watched tons of film together actually. And they'll call me. They've met my whole family basically, they're really nice people. We felt the family aspect, they call me at least three times a week and we're always texting, I'm texting him right now. They really made me feel wanted."
Cruz's ambition to play for the Orange has a lot to do with how much he believes he can improve in his time at Syracuse. As physically gifted as he is, Cruz is well aware of his potential and this is one, huge step in the process.
"I like what they run, I see what they run and it's great. In my opinion, they're in the best conference so I'm gonna be going up against the best, and you've gotta beat the best to be the best."
The family was just as big a part of Cruz's final decision as anything else. Their affinity for Syracuse has been growing ever since it became an option.
"We had a commitment party yesterday," said Cruz."But they are all extremely excited, extremely happy, and proud of me. They all love Syracuse, that's always been their top school since day one. All of them. My whole family, like everyone from my dad's side, everyone from my mom's side, they all love and enjoy Syracuse."
Cruz is looking forward to coming to Syracuse and exceeding the already elevated expectations.
"I cannot wait. I'm getting chills just thinking about it."