2017 outside linebacker Nadarius Fagan committed to Syracuse on Sunday, bolstering an already-loaded position group for Dino Babers and the coaching staff.
Fagan, who hails from Southridge High in Miami, FL, turned down offers from several high-profile programs, including Alabama, USC, Louisville, Nebraska, and LSU (where he recently spent three days during an extended visit). Fagan’s commitment to SU is only verbal, so he could still flip his allegiance to one of those powerhouse schools. But right now, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound linebacker is on track to wear Orange in 2017.
“I just wasn’t feeling the love that I was feeling at Syracuse,” the South Florida native said. “Like, when I go to other schools I just wasn’t feeling it. When I’m at Syracuse, I get a vibe that makes me feel like I’m at home.”
A huge factor in Fagan’s decision was the coaching staff’s willingness to be flexible with the linebacker’s schedule. Along with football, Fagan’s passion is acting, and he plans to enroll in SU’s drama program. He envisions a career in commentating or acting after he hangs up his cleats.
On the gridiron, Fagan is a bona fide stud — 247sports.com pegs him as the 34th-best OLB in the site’s 2017 class rankings. The three-star recruit becomes the second-highest-rated player in Syracuse’s crop, behind only newly-minted four-star QB Tommy DeVito.
Fagan is a high-profile addition to the Orange’s auspicious 2017 linebacker crop; he joins Keirston Johnson, Kadeem Trotter, and Tyrell Richards at the position. Of the four, Johnson is the only one listed as an inside linebacker, but Fagan could slide to the middle if necessary. ILB is a crucial position in the coaching staff’s Tampa 2 scheme — the “mike” must be able to run step-for-step with pass-catchers up the seam and swarm to the ball when the offense keeps it on the ground. Versatility is the key to manning that spot, and although he could improve his coverage skills, Fagan seems to fit the bill.
Fagan will infuse a ton of aggressiveness and athleticism into the Syracuse defense. When he recognizes a running play, he charges downhill, locates the pigskin, and lights up the ball-carrier. As a junior at Southridge, Fagan racked up 141 tackles (the highest total in the talent-rich Dade County), four sacks, and two forced fumbles.
This can’t be emphasized enough: the Orange just beat out Alabama, LSU, and USC for a recruit. That doesn’t happen very often. Fagan’s commitment is the latest indicator of a new, prosperous era of Syracuse football.