Three-star 2014 linebacker prospect Jason Sylva is not new to the recruiting process. So earlier this week when Sylva made the decision to flip his commitment from UMass to Western Michigan, there was very little doubt left in his mind.
"I've been on official visits before," said Silva, citing his recent visits, and past experiences in 2012 when he originally signed with UConn out of high school.
"Having gone through the process before in high school when I was being recruited, I know enough not to get too excited after a visit. I tried not to pay attention to those things and just look at the big picture."
Sylva ultimately went the Junior College (JUCO) route, landing at Dean J.C. in Franklin, Massachusetts. After two years of JUCO football, Sylva reclassified and committed to the Minuteman last July.
The Broncos continued to recruit him despite his verbal commitment, and it paid off over the weekend.
"It was a unique situation," Sylva explained. "I was supposed to come out in the middle of January. Because this was the last weekend before the dead period, the staff wanted to get me out there. I had a great time by the end of it and decided this is where I wanted to play my next two seasons."
Sylva arrived in Kalamazoo late Friday night and spent most of the day Saturday with the coaching staff, touring campus, and meeting with academic advisers.
"I met some of the staff, met the coaches families, met all of the coaches wives, and had a really good feeling for what it was like being there. I hung out with some of the players around campus too."
He even set aside some one-on-one time with current commit Chance Stewart.
"Chance Stewart was able to drive up and get out there, so I got to sit down with him and talk for a while. He didn't try to convince me to come, he just kind of laid it out there for me how it was. I got to ask him a lot of questions. He seems like a good leader for this incoming class."
"When I was in high school I was in a similar situation, being recruited by a lot of big schools. It was nice to hear from him about the rest of the class and I got a good perspective from him on where he thinks [WMU] is going."
It was, however, a conversation over breakfast Sunday morning with head coach P.J. Fleck, that ultimately convinced him WMU was indeed the best fit.
"Sitting down with [Fleck] and soaking in everything, I knew that this was where I wanted to spend my next two years."
"The opportunity for me to play right away and be in a system that's set up for me to be successful, and I'll be surrounded by good players and a good coaching staff. I think all those things put together... and then to be a part of a program that's going to do something special the next couple of seasons."
Sylva told BroncoBlitz.com he was aware of Fleck's rising reputation in the recruiting world, and wanted to see his passion and energy in person.
"I watched all of the videos before my visit and heard about him, but I wanted to get to meet the guy myself. When I met him, I got to respect him even more. He brings a lot of passion to the game and to the program, as a former player. I'm a passionate player myself."
Sylva says he expects to play middle linebacker at Western Michigan, and hopes to "help build the program back up and play at the highest
He now joins JaKevin Jackson (Milledgeville, GA) and Delshawn Phillips (Detroit, MI) as the only members in the 2014 class classified as true linebackers, according to the Rivals.com database. Robert Spillane (ATH) also figures to play linebacker at the next level as well.