Syracuse Secures 3-Star LB Jason Cabinda, A Potential Defensive Leader

Jason Cabinda may be the most interesting man in Syracuse when he arrives to play for the Orange next year. The class of 2014 prospect committed to SU yesterday and tells The Fizz he felt right at home while walking through the campus.

He says no other school felt “right” for him like SU did. He’s a hard hitting linebacker and defensive end for Hunterdon Central in New Jersey, but also is fluent in French.

“Yea, my whole family is from Cameroon. I missed [being born there] by a couple months, but my mom, my dad, my sister are all from West Africa.”

The hulking 6’2″ 225 lbs 3-star product is just as intimidating in the classroom as is he on the gridiron.

“I want to major in brokerage, or finance. [One of Syracuse's advisors] told me about a dual program with finance and communications. It would be great to do, because I’m great with people, I have good people skills. I was always good with math and I want to make money (laughs).”

It’s not too often a you hear a 17-year-old explain the finer details of life after college football. The Syracuse commit has his priorities straight.

 ”At any given moment, [you could suffer] a knee, an ankle, a torn ACL, you got to be ready to say, ‘I got this degree in my back pocket, I’m going to be able to do this or that.’ Think about it, the average NFL career is what, 5 years? And let’s say you even do go for ten years, then you’re 31, you’re out of the NFL, what are you going to do now, you know? You still have another 30 years to work, you have to do something.”

The Fizz presents, ladies and gentlemen, the charismatic Jason Cabinda. He’s the team’s defensive captain, and also ran for close to 1,500 yards and 22 touchdown’s in the backfield last season. He’s already the fourth LB commit in Scott Shafer’s first ever full class, and has an unprecedented maturity that Syracuse coaches Clark Lea and Chuck Bullough couldn’t turn aside. The two were in contact with Cabinda briefly before offering the defensive standout in May.

“I was getting letters from Syracuse but it wasn’t really personal, until one day someone picked up the phone, and Coach Lea chatted with me that day, saying, ‘love the film, give me a call, etc.’ I gave him a called and he offered me right then and there. I was so excited about it.”

The coaches just wanted to check how much character he really had. Cabinda admits to The Fizz he and his mother loved Lea, and enjoyed the family oriented feel at SU. He listened while Shafer talked about setting good examples for kids in SU’s program. Cabinda knew Syracuse was right for him. More so than some of the other contenders on his list, Boston College, Temple, and UConn.

The LB says he didn’t feel like he fit in at those other campuses. He marveled at how Shafer and Lea could joke around with each other so poignantly one minute, then exude the same authority a coach would need to lead an ACC football program the next. He was also was amazed by CNY and campus during his visit two weekends ago.

“I actually love playing inside [in the Carrier Dome], I think that’s cool. The campus was great, beautiful, very clean. That’s one thing that put me off about Temple. It just wasn’t my place, it was a bit too trashy, too city for me.”

Cabinda’s a blue-collar worker, much to the delight of Shafer. And it’s not just the coaches he feels he fits in with at Syracuse. The LB talked extensively with other 2014 recruits like Zaire Franklin, Colten Moskal and AJ Long. Different chapter, same compelling story for the seven member 2014 class.

“They’re good kids, they have their heads on right, they’re my kind of guys. [We communicated] very natural, I feel like we’ve already known each other which is a great feeling.”

On the field, the LB is a powerhouse. His size makes him a force on the defensive side of the football, and he carries a load while running with the pigskin on offense. He sees holes before they open up, and uses blazing quickness to burst through the line of scrimmage. His highlights are filled with just as many gravity-defying hurdles, as there are punishing lead blocks. This is the benefit of having a 6’2″ 225 lbs mammoth in the backfield.

“My athleticism and my tenacity [are my strengths], and I think you can see that in my highlight film. I hate going down. I’ll have a couple plays where I’m pushing piles, and you can see the unwillingness to go down.” 

It was only coincidence he decided to announce his decision on Twitter on the same day Syracuse officially joined the ACC. He wanted to be worry-free senior year. Now it’s strictly football for the Hunterdon Central Red Devil.

The former lacrosse and basketball star at his high school will also run track this winter to build his quickness, and to take his game to the next level.

“They say in high school sports, D1 players are the ones who are able to take over games at any moment’s time, and I want to be able to do that. I want to be able to finish runs better and making everyone on my team a better leader.”

Well said, although that’s nothing out of the ordinary from the 3-star LB. SU must wait another year to watch Cabinda in the Syracuse uniform, but Orange Nation may have found it’s next defensive leader.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

Filed Under: FB RecruitingFeatured


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  1. Ron says:

    @Kevin Fitzgerald;

    Slowly.very slowly syracuase is edging it’sway back into NJ for some od it’s top football recruits.

    Jayson is rated a 3* athlete and should be rated even higher. Syracuse is getting another hard hitting LB,can’t wait to watch him play for Syracuse.

    Welcome to the “Orangenation” Jason Cabinda.

    Kevin another great article,great way to start the day,thanks.

  2. Ron says:

    Going to be a close knit group of young men coming to the hill in 2014.

    Thank you,Zaire Franklin, Colten Moskal and AJ Long,for helping to bring another good recruit to Syracuse. Looks like the group of LB’s is going to be the weapon of choice over the next 4-5 years.

    We’re in day 2 as members of the ACC and with commits like Jason,tells me that Syracuse isn’t going to have to wait long before they start competing for the ACC Championship.

  3. Ron says:

    Jason ia another that has played more than one sport in HS.

    “The former lacrosse and basketball star at his high school will also run track this winter to build his quickness, and to take his game to the next level”.

    There seem to be a pattern forming with the kids that are committing to Syracuse. Three out of the Seven who have committed have played more than “ONE SPORT”. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!

  4. Russell MacEachern says:

    @Ron,yeah I’m starting to like him more and more..I think were gonna be set at LB for awhile as these newest young men gell as a cohesive unit..similar to a marine platoon!Im skeptical that he’s 6’2″ tho as last years as a 3rd team all-state selection he was listed 5’11″190?This year most sites have him at 6’1″ 210!!No matter, Mike Singletary was only 5’10″ 225 and its all in the heart!I’m a lover of LB’s and SS’ as they are usually the guys with the “edge”!!Ron,its like Xmas morning with the new recruits huh?

  5. Russell MacEachern says:

    Remember when he only has to play 1 position he’ll get even better as anyone who played the game knows how exhausting playing all 60 minutes can be!

  6. Malone says:

    That area (Ridge, Phillipsburg, etc) of NJ has produced lots of athletic talent for SU. Football yes, like Jim Ringo, but also Field Hockey. I know the area is strong in Lax as well. I would have to look, but would not be surprised if there weren’t a lot of D1 Lax players from the area.

  7. Ron says:

    You bet Russell. I was feeling a little down with the news on Mavety and Domer. But you know,there’s always hope. Neither has made a commitment yet,and as far as I’m concerned,both have us on their radar.

    But Russell,with Jason making the commitment to Syracuse only reinforces the idea that we still have a shot at them.

    It’s going to be interesting.

  8. Ron says:


    That’s good news about lacrosse in that area. I always thought upstate NY was the hotbed of lacrosse. With the national explosion of the sport,with more and more D1 programs coming into the area and recruiting,i’m going to have to expand my line of thinking and say now the hotbed of lacrosse is the northeast region of the US.

  9. Russell MacEachern says:

    Yes Ron,Lax is getting BIG in NJ and LI,NY over the last 15 or so years but it really grew out of CNY and E.Mass,Conn Mohawk/Oneida/Iriquois nation Indian’s and french/scottish traders!American(East coast) mothers won’t let their kids play football in this newest generation but don’t mind Lax!!

  10. Ron says:

    OK guys,let me ask,have you heard any news lately about the following players out of NJ?

    OT Tyrell Smith out of Don Bosco Prep.
    DE Kurt Holuba out of Bergen Catholic HS
    WR Tyrone Washington out of Paramus Catholic HS.

    I think all three of these players would make great additions to the Orange,don’t you?

  11. Ron says:

    Did anyone watch the ACC ceremony yesterday introducing it’s 3 new members into the league?

    Commisioner Swafford made a very powerful statement in saying we are the “Atlantic Coast Conference”that stretch/covers the whole eastern seaboard from Florida to New York with footprints into the midwest with Notre Dame and Louisville.

    I think if they rotate the BB tournament up to Madison Square Garden,then they will have accomplished their goal of locking up the NYC area in college athletics and the BIG along with Rutgers playing second fiddle. The commissioner also said by 2030,55% of the US population will live within the ACC’s newly established footprint.

    The late John Wooden found that all of the good recruits/players were “EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI”,and if you wanted to win that’s the area you needed to recruit. Ten national championships proves that point and no matter what the BIG does,is going to make the ACC the best conference in America. BAR NONE!!!!!!!

    I honestly believe gentlemen by joining the ACC,no matter what happens this fall,next year is when Syracuse will start to take back the Northeast in recruiting the talent located here.

  12. chris says:

    No doubt that Cabinda just elevated the backer position for the OrangeThe other us coming in his class next year will be the bedrock for the defense for years to come.

  13. cusefan75 says:

    This kid sounds great (measurables and psyche).
    Do we know why Rutgers didn’t offer him? Were they not taking many backers this year and had more desirable targets they were interested in? Is their roster pretty full at LB?
    I know that Jersey is loaded with talent compared with NY, so Rutgers can’t offer every kid, but Cabinda seems to fit in their wheel house. They struggle getting top Jersey talent of late (plundered by the bigger programs like PSU, Mich, ND etc….much like NY for Cuse) and thrive at getting the lower 4 star and 3 star kids….which has been a recruiting issue for us, as we used to get those kids 10-25 years ago. Regardless of whether Rutgirls offered, I’m pumped to see Cuse get back into Jersey (though we never truly left, there seems to be a greater desire to reconstruct bridges) and wish that we could start pulling in half of the NY state top 10. We would have done well in NY last year if Marrone had stayed, as I feel Gus and Laray would def have signed and an outside shot Ebo or someone else would have too.

  14. Malone says:

    I am not confident EO was ever genuine in his interest. I do feel that without the turnover, we have Gus and Laray. That said, I am very happy to see us getting stronger in NJ. Think to all the recent players we’ve had from there (not considering all the ones we didn’t get). Darius, Tyree, Spotwood, I have been down the list too many times. As to Rutgers getting “lower 4*” well, that isn’t a bad thing and I hope we get there. P understood the importance and Schiano too. It is little coincidence that when Schiano started getting NJ, that SU started falling. When Grob came on, well we gave the state to RU and now they think they’re world beaters. We created them by our absence, and I am glad to see we are starting to take them down.

  15. Malone says:

    For the record, Mavety is a proud Jersey player. We should not forget that while we recruit him.

  16. Ron says:

    “OohRah” huckleberry,great post.

  17. Derek says:

    Cabinda, Franklin, and Moskal… that’s going to be a fierce group of LBs in a couple of years. Seems like a lot of the recruiting momentum has been on the defensive side of the ball.

  18. Russell MacEachern says:

    Ron,I looked closer into Jason Cabinda and I think he may turn out to be the best of the group according to some NJ HS players who went up against him on the field and in some local camps!Todderick Hunt RU beatwriter says he would have been a starter at RU in a couple yrs!!Why no offer?I’m not sure?@Ron,Holuba all but a lock to Stanford..2nd choice NW!!Tyrone is still in play…likes RU but no room..he’d fit well with us at WR/CB..a solid 3*..Tyrell’s a verbal to VT!!Malone,why handwringing over RU?After NJ being raped of talent from all over the the nation I applaud them for plugging the gap..about time they made a stand!Unfortunately we gave NJ away by hiring “California GRob” as Schiano was marketing and nurturing every HS and newborn baby with FB’s and T shirts in the state!I tip my hat!We can win it back partially but must put in the work like they did!We can’t just say they owe us their kids?

  19. Russell MacEachern says:

    I completely understand your feelings but it is what it is…We practically told downstate NYC/NJ coaches we could live w/o them?NJ HS coaching asociation are a very proud tight knit group with long memories and carry a lot of weight with the kids parents!Don’t fret now as were making inroads but we NEED a HEALER not Moore in NJ!!

  20. Russell MacEachern says:

    @Cusefan75…Jason Cabinda’s LEGIT!!No,RU didn’t offer but they had other priorities I guess?Everyone misses out on gem’s now and again!

  21. Russell MacEachern says:

    Terry,want to see good recruiting?Check out Temples recruiting this year w/o Al Golden!!Wow,most of the kids are from south NJ and I predict a top 50 class for the AAC school with poor facilities!!No way should they beat us to anyone!!But remember that’s a unique situation…I predict good things in a couple years for them…their taking FB serious!!UConn better step it up!

  22. Russell MacEachern says:

    I think KF is gonna be a keeper for RU but the NE hot NJ coach/recruiter is NJ’s own “Bob Diaco” who if KF failed was earmarked for RU…that’s the LAST thing we want to see!!He comes from the town my sister and mom live in W.Caldwell,NJ!He put in a few interviews but looking for just the right fit..RU?KF better get off to a good start!We need a top flight NJ/NY recruiter like him!

  23. Mademan says:

    Bob Diaco is the next PSU coach if BOB leaves. Mark my words. He is either gonna end at RU, PSU, or UM

  24. Russell MacEachern says:

    Mademan,I worry about that…BOB leaving PSU and Diaco getting back into NJ as Penn St’s HC?Outside of SU getting him I’d rather we stop outside state U’s from raping NJ with our own talent!!But I think Kyle Flood will be OK at RU but someone who gets Diaco is gonna get a big IN in NJ/NYC!Now that we have HCSS here I think our “SU” recruiting will work itself out soon!

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  26. John says:

    If Cabinda is committed to the Cuse then why was he visiting PSU a couple days ago and quoted as saying he hopes to get an offer soon from Northwestern??

  27. JB says:

    Recruit someone else.

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