Wooster (Ohio) High safety Marquise Blair is the highest ranked player in Syracuse’s 2015 class. Despite his immense talent, he is not satisfied with his game. Over the summer, Wooster head coach Doug Haas says that Blair has worked diligently to improve some of his athletic measurables.
”Our weight program is structured such that we go three days a week,” Haas said. “We’ll lift for an hour and then go out and run. Do different conditioning drills like speed enhancement and things like that for about a half an hour. Marquise has been very involved in that. Then he also took the time to get with our quarterback and throw a little bit. Just to develop a little more timing. Once or twice a week to develop a little from that standpoint.”
Early on in training camp, Blair has performed as expected. He is the best player on the Wooster squad, but has been working on non-physical aspects of his game to try to take the next step as a leader.
”He’s looked good,” Haas said. “He came into camp in shape. He’s worked tremendously hard throughout our camp. I’ve been very, very pleased with his effort. Just from a leadership standpoint he’s improved. Marquise is not a vocal guy by any stretch of the imagination. So he’s really taken it upon himself to become more of a vocal guy. Encourage his teammates defensively and challenge his teammates to step up and work hard.
”You never have to worry about Marquise’s effort whether it’s in a drill or a scrimmage. From that standpoint, the lead by example has always been there for him. He’s really improved his game from an intangible perspective to be a better communicator. To really encourage and push his teammates to become better and better.”
Before Blair committed to Syracuse, Scout.com had him unranked. Due to his lack of camp participation, as well as not playing on a traditional Ohio power, he fell through the cracks of Scout’s radar.
But after his decision, he shot up the Scout rankings. Blair is now a high three-star prospect with the potential to hit four-star status. The added fanfare, however, has not had any impact on the talented safety.
”How do I say this nicely,” Haas said. “He doesn’t care. He doesn’t and I mean that in the nicest way. He could care less. He recognizes he has ability. He knows he needs to work. He understands that there are other talented kids out there that work hard. So he recognizes that he has to get better. I kind of laugh because he truly doesn’t care.
”He just wants to play. This day and age with social media and the internet, he’s certainly active on it and keeps up with the current billings of Syracuse football, but from a ratings standpoint I think he has the mindset that he can’t control that. All he can control is playing so he goes out and makes plays.”
One of the main concerns with Blair when he committed was his academic standing. Even with working hard on honing his craft, Blair put a lot of effort into summer school. Those efforts paid dividends as he looks to become qualified by the end of his senior year.
”He took some steps forward,” Haas said. “He really did. He took two summer courses with core classes and got B’s in those. In fact I don’t think we’ve even told (linebacker) coach (Clark) Lea or (head) coach (Scott) Shafer yet. So he did a really good job with that.
”We had an opportunity to touch base with one of the support staff at Syracuse in regards to the academic aspect and how we need to proceed. So he is attacking that plan with vigor.”