Syracuse football has flipped one of the top defensive ends in the Northeast. Class of 2022 Richland (N.J.) St. Augustine Prep defensive end Denis Jaquez, who was committed to Northwestern until Monday, has signed with the Orange. He took an official visit to Syracuse over the weekend.
"Definitely the coaching staff," Jaquez said. "Coach (Achuff) is an amazing guy. The head coach (Babers), he's an amazing dude as well. Also, when it comes to playing time as well, I could see myself coming up here as a midyear (January enrollee) and hopefully getting on the field next year."
Being committed to Northwestern since June, why even take another visit in the first place?
"I noticed that I had a couple of official visits left," Jaquez said. "I had an ex teammate that is currently on the Syracuse roster (Duce Chestnut). He told me to come out and explore my options. So I did and I loved it."
Contact with Syracuse ramped up over the last few weeks and culminated with the visit. The pitch from the Orange coaches was aided by a current player. The aforementioned Duce Chestnut.
Chestnut was a talented prospect out of New Jersey in Syracuse's 2021 recruiting class who made an instant impact on the Orange. If Jaquez can bring anything close to that production right away, Syracuse has quite the recruiting win in Jaquez. Being friends, Jaquez was able to get insight into what it's like playing at Syracuse.
"He pretty much told me that if you come in, you put the work in, they don't care how old you are," Jaquez said. "You could be 14 out there. They will play you if your'e good enough. Pretty much to come out here, play hard and you'll be rewarded."
Syracuse envisions Jaquez as a strong or speed defensive end. Someone who can move inside in pass rushing situations at times. He has the versatility to play everything except a zero technique.
So what can Orange fans expect from Jaquez?
"They're 100% going to get a competitor," Jaquez said. "I'm not there just to do my four years and get a degree. I'm there to try to make the NFL. Not just make the NFL, but be one of the greatest of all time. So they're going to get a worker out of me. Definitely, on the field. Off the field, you'll never have to worry about me grades wise. I'm on point. I'm just going to be a good guy out there."
Jaquez also held offers from Air Force, Army, Boston College, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Kent State, Liberty, Maryland, Navy, Rutgers, Temple, Texas A&M, Toledo, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, among others. Jaquez is listed at 6-4, 235 pounds. During his senior season, Jaquez racked up 76 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in 11 games. He also had an interception, two forced fumbles and five passes defensed.