Recruiting

Quarterbacks Edouard, Long prepare to compete at Syracuse next fall

When A.J. Long was in eighth grade, his dad put four numbers on the wall in their basement, each a statistical goal for his son.

9,853 passing yards — the Pennsylvania state passing record at the time. 100 passing touchdowns. 2,000 rushing yards. 40 rushing touchdowns.

Although the sheets on the wall didn’t travel with Long to Tennessee, where he is finishing his high school career at Friendship Christian School, he’s surpassed each mark.

More than 10,000 passing yards. 125 passing touchdowns. Close to 2,300 rushing yards. Just more than 40 rushing touchdowns.

He’s eclipsed each milestone and set his sites on his next goal. Once he’s finished high school football, Long has ambitions to leapfrog Terrel Hunt, Mitch Kimble and Austin Wilson, and start for the Orange as a freshman next fall.

“If I do all that I need to do, I can’t see myself not starting next year,” Long said.

But he won’t be the only first-year quarterback trying to do so.

On Oct. 20, three-star recruit Alin Edouard joined Long as the second quarterback to verbally commit to the Orange for 2014 after de-committing from Miami (Fla.) on Sept. 1. While the two incoming freshmen sit behind Hunt, Kimble and Wilson on the Orange’s preconceived 2014 depth chart, they’re ready to challenge anyone, including each other, for the starting spot.

“Competition is everything,” Edouard said. “Everywhere you go there is going to be competition so I’m excited for it, and I’m going to do what I got to do.”

For more than seven months, Long was the only quarterback heading to Syracuse in 2014.

Long verbally committed last March while Edouard, a Miami native, was in heavy talks with Miami and considering offers from Penn State, Tennessee and Nebraska, among other schools.

But after committing then wavering throughout the summer, Edouard de-committed from the Hurricanes because he didn’t feel like one of Miami’s top priorities and “had never heard of a recruiting class with three quarterbacks.”

Seven weeks later, he opted to give Syracuse a recruiting class with two.

“Syracuse was one school that offered me and stuck with me and tried to draw me away from Miami,” Edouard said. “I was comfortable and Coach (George) McDonald has been with me since day one, so that made my decision easy.”

Now the Orange is going to welcome two signal callers that hardly differ.

Long and Edouard are both dual-threat quarterbacks with scrambling ability, strong arms and a high football IQ. Long is 6 feet 2 inches tall and 190 pounds. Edouard is 6 feet 2 inches tall and 181 pounds. And they each see getting stronger as the next step of their development.

“I think skill wise everything is in place,” Long said. “I know Coach (Will) Hicks turns boys into men in the weight room, and I need that when I get to Syracuse.”

Said Edouard: “I just need to get in the weight room and get bigger, that’s my main concern right now.”

Both quarterbacks are confident they could start for the Orange right away, but will each need to make a critical decision before even stepping on the practice field.

Long wears No. 3. It’s the number his father wore in the Marine Corps, but also the number Kimble wears. So he plans to switch to No. 4 because of “the legend of 44 in Syracuse.”

Edouard has the same problem. He has worn No. 10 his whole life, but that’s Hunt’s number. After saying he hopes Hunt will give it up through uncontrollable laughter, Edouard listed Nos. 6, 11 and 4 as other options.

As part of the bigger picture, Long and Edouard are already eyeing the same number. Once they sort that out, the real competition will begin.

“I haven’t seen much film but they’re both extremely talented quarterbacks,” said Rodney Williams, a safety committed to SU for 2014. “They’re going to bring out the best in each other.”

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