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When we entered this 2011 recruiting year, we talked about how Virginia Tech needed to find some quality linebackers after missing out on Curtis Grant, Stephone Anthony, and Travis Hughes in 2010. 11 months later, Tech is poised to sign five different linebacker prospects. One of the least talked about out of that group is Jawand Blue out of Boca Raton, Florida.
Blue had an interesting start to his senior season. He was flagged in a preseason game for unsportsmanlike conduct and then suspended six games for allegedly throwing a punch. However, after an appeal process, Blue saw his suspension knocked down from six to two games. The funny part of this story is that the rules committee for Florida High School football admitted that Blue did not throw a punch but still suspended him for two games. The reason for that suspension, well I could never really figure that out through my research.
I know we use clichés a little too often in football but in Blue’s case, if he was three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier, he would probably be a five star. Blue has a lot of the intangibles you look for in a linebacker. He flows well to the ball, he pursues sideline to sideline, and he’s a sure tackler. He also isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and run you over. From a passion and toughness standpoint, you really have to admire how Blue plays the game.
The biggest weakness for Blue is not necessarily his size (he’s around 6-foot tall) but his weight. His weight seems to be anything from 194-215 online but it appears the more realistic number is around 195. Blue needs to add some weight once he arrives in Blacksburg in order to stay at his more natural position of middle linebacker. Blue will be a MIKE in our scheme, mostly because he’s an inside-out player. But, our last three MIKE LB’s have all weighed over 235 pounds. Needless to say, Blue has some work to do in that department.
When Will He See The Field
I think linebacker is one position that could see some movement this spring and that could change the depth chart a bit heading into this fall. Right now, it doesn’t look likely that he’ll be able to play as a true freshmen. However, after a redshirt season the depth chart will open up a bit with Bruce Taylor graduating. The Hokies will still have Jack Tyler at the position and maybe Chase Williams but both of those guys will be upper classmen.
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If everything goes well, Blue could sneak into the two deep at MIKE by his redshirt sophomore year. I think that’s a good pace for him as well. MIKE is a tough position to learn so having two years to soak everything in and focus on gaining weight and getting stronger in the weight room will really pay off in the long run.
Blue is an intriguing recruit because he didn’t garner much interest from many of the in-state schools. Instead, the Hokies beat out Michigan State, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt for the three star prospect. That’s an impressive offer list especially with Wisconsin and Michigan State both going after him.
Overall, I like Blue a lot. Despite his size, he has the natural instincts you look for in a linebacker. He flows to the ball well, sheds blocks well, and is a sure tackler. It’s hard to ask much more from him at this stage in his development. If he can pack on a few good pounds within his first year on campus, I think he could be a player to watch out for in the spring of 2013.
You’re my boy, Blue!
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