Syracuse’s future at linebacker could be looking bright if Ja Wand Blue, 6′ 195 lbs. from West Boca Raton (FL) comes north. The Fizz spoke to Blue’s coach Willie Dorado, as the three-star MLB prospect has landed on the Orange’s hot list of recruits. SU has already added talent to its linebacker position with the recent verbal commitment from outside linebacker James Washington.
While having an OLB for the future is nice, getting a middle linebacker for the future in the same recruiting class is even better. Dodaro says Blue can settle in and play any position you ask him to.
“He can adapt to different situations. He started as a defensive back then moved him to mike linebacker. We tried him out at free safety then to d-end and he played very well there, he played well at every position. I moved him back to mike again and from there he just took off.”
Linebacker is without question the right place for him. He reads plays well and gets an excellent jump on the ball. But what is his greatest strength?
“He is very aggressive, always in attack mode. He also absorbs things great, has a great knowledge of the game and learns on the fly.”
Blue hits a ton and flat out creates havoc on the field. He had 99 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles last season for the Bulls. He’s in on almost every tackle and plays a lot bigger than his size. JWB knocks ball carriers right back where they came from. Does ‘Cuse have a real shot of landing yet another Florida LB?
“Everything is still wide open for now. He is studying every team and then is going to make his choice. He has the whole summer to absorb as much info as possible. He wants to visit with all the coaches too.”
Not great news for SU, but also not terrible either. So, what factor will dictate the school Ja Wand eventually ends up choosing?
“One, his chances of playing. He wants to play right away. He is first concern about his opportunity to be on the field and being able to play. Academics. Academically he wants a school that is right for him. And then is the team going to be good? He wants to play for a team that is going to win games.”
With Syracuse’s linebacking core as a potential weakness with the departures of Doug Hogue and Derrell Smith, Blue definitely has the chance to get playing time right away. SU has promising linebackers coming in with Cam Lynch, Oliver Vigille, Dyshawn Davis and Siriki Diabate. But all are unproven players. Wherever Ja Wand ends up, Dodaro says someone is getting one heck of a player.
“He is a great player. One of, if not the top kids I have coached in my 32 years. Shows talent anywhere you put him and he will deliver.”
The Dougie has already nabbed some terrific talent from the Sunshine State. If he can land Blue, a position of weakness may become a huge strength for the Orange in the not so distant future.
Posted: Dave Van Moffaert