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I mentioned the other day that, while Syracuse is primarily focused on the recruiting class of 2017 right now, that hasn’t stopped the Orange football staff from looking to the future with the 2018 class. At today’s Dino Babers camp in Brooklyn, one in-state talent stood out: Christ the King cornerback Jarrett Paul.

Paul, a 6-foot-1, 189 pound corner from New York City, has been high on Syracuse for quite awhile, even though he’s still a young prospect whose recruitment is still just starting to really take off. He’s drawing heavy interest from several Power 5 programs, and is poised to become one of the top defensive back prospects in the Northeast in the class of 2018.

Paul was receiving plenty of interest from Syracuse before the Brooklyn camp today, but his performance only enhanced the Orange’s interest in keeping the NYC prospect close to home. While he hasn’t yet received an offer, all indications are that one will be coming very soon. This is the second time that Paul has worked out in front of Syracuse coaches recently (he was also at the Michigan satellite camp in New Jersey), and defensive backs coach Nick Monroe has already taken notice.

“I’m developing a very good relationship with coach Monroe,” said Paul. “Coach [Mike] Hart is my area recruiter so I talk to him, too, but it’s been mostly coach Monroe.”

While Paul has the size and athletic ability to play anywhere in the secondary at the next level, he also says that Monroe and the Syracuse staff see the makings of a terrific corner at the next level.

“(Monroe) likes me at corner, but he said I could possibly develop into a safety,” said Paul. “My strength is definitely how I mirror receivers at the line in press coverage. I’m just working on being an all-around cornerback. I don’t want to have any flaws in my game.”

In addition to Syracuse, Paul has received early interest from some heavy hitters, particularly in the Big Ten. Penn State, Maryland, and Indiana are all high on the rising junior, and he is likewise intrigued by what those schools have to offer. In particular, he’s very high on the Nittany Lions, and has already visited Happy Valley.

“I’m comfortable with everyone on staff at Penn State, even coach [James] Franklin,” said Paul. “They’re going to offer after I camp with them.”

He’s also planning visits to Indiana on June 20, and will be camping at Maryland on June 22. Paul, who attended the Clemson game in the Carrier Dome last fall, will also be visiting Syracuse in July. It will be his first real look at campus, and the facilities at Syracuse. As far as what he’s looking for in a program, Paul already has a pretty well defined criteria.

“Academics are definitely important,” said Paul. “The most important factor will be my relationship with the defensive backs coach, because that’s who is going to develop me and help me get to the highest level of football.”

It’s still early in Paul’s recruiting process, and most of his offers will undoubtedly start rolling in this fall when he gets more game film to display his talents, but he’s also not planning on dragging things out when it comes to his decision.

“I will pull the trigger whenever it feels right, due to the fact that I plan on enrolling early,” said Paul. “However, I’m planning on taking a lot of visits so I can make the right choice.”

Paul is a prospect who the Syracuse coaches feel is about to become a big-time prospect, and are wisely getting in the mix early. It also helps that the Orange are the lone in-state Power 5 program for the New York City product.

“A ‘Cuse offer would mean a lot to me,” said Paul. “Coach Monroe said they’re going to offer after they see some of my junior season games.”

Syracuse fans have been hoping that the Orange would keep the in-state talent home, and that’s certainly something Dino Babers and his staff are hoping to accomplish as well. When it comes to Jarrett Paul, it would appear that the Orange are in a very good position with a player who will likely become one of the most highly sought after defensive players in the state when things get rolling for the class of 2018.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including Cracked.com, Spike.com, TheSportster.com, Gunaxin.com, and TopTenz.net, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish