On the day that ESPN released its 2017 iteration of the ESPN 300, revealing that Syracuse wide receiver commit Daewood Davis is rated No. 222 in the nation, the Orange football staff received its second commitment of the class with Buffalo athlete Isaiah McDuffie.
The 6-foot-2, 205 pound athlete from Bennett High was a first team All-WNY selection last season as a sophomore, when he played both linebacker and running back. Based on his size and speed (reportedly a 4.6 time in the 40) it stands to reason that McDuffie is being recruited to play linebacker for Scott Shafer and Chuck Bullough’s defense.
McDuffie shows good speed and quickness in his film, and is already well built for a kid his age. It’s pretty clear he could grow into a heck of an outside linebacker for the Orange, and if you watch his highlights there’s one play in particular (at about the 1:03 mark) that jumped out to me as he covers an option pitch. First, he bursts through the line and cuts off the quarterback, and even after the pitch is made, he still is able to change direction and close on the RB and make the stop behind the line of scrimmage. That’s some pretty impressive athleticism on display.
Obviously, it’s still extremely early in McDuffie’s recruitment (he reportedly claims offers from Buffalo, UConn, Penn State, and Washington). He recently attended a Penn State camp, and Syracuse has clearly had an eye on the young athlete for awhile. If Scott Shafer is willing to take a commitment this early from an under the radar player like McDuffie, it stands to reason they absolutely love his potential, and he could become a player to really watch over the next two years as he finishes his up his high school career.