Buffalo (N.Y.) Bennett High athlete Isaiah McDuffie committed to Syracuse on Monday. He is the second class of 2017 prospect to choose the Orange, and represents a nice in-state win for the coaching staff.
He is coming to Syracuse to play on the defensive side of the ball. How does he fit and what are the Orange getting? We spoke to his high school head coach, and father, Steve McDuffie to find out.
”Isaiah as a sophomore rushed for 1,375-yards and he had 23 touchdowns,” McDuffie said. “He also had 161 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions. They’re going to get a very, very explosive kid. He’s going to be a defensive player for Syracuse. Where Isaiah is really gifted is in the box. He can tackle very well and he hits very hard. But he also is a ball hawk and he can also cover.
”I know football has turned to a game that’s looking for guys that can play that safety/linebacker type. The SAM backer in the box who can tackle and can cover. Isaiah is a very, very explosive player. I think Syracuse fans will be surprised. Hopefully, this is the start of Syracuse coming back and hopefully they can win an ACC Championship while he’s there.”
Entering his junior season, despite a lot of desirable traits, there are some things that Isaiah will continue to try to improve. Specifically, his speed and coverage skills. Improving in those areas should make him ready to contribute right away when he arrives on The Hill.
”His fastest (40) time this year was a 4.53,” McDuffie said. “We’re trying to get that down into 4.4 area. We’re also trying to work with him on getting better and better in coverage. I just believe he’s a very aggressive player who’s a ball hawk. So we have to get him better in coverage so when it comes to Syracuse University, there won’t be a number two receiver in the country he can’t cover.”
The McDuffie’s are happy about their decision and will spend the rest of Isaiah’s high school career working towards prepping for the college game. He plans on visiting Syracuse for their game against LSU with the possibility he takes in more games during this coming season as well.
Beyond that, some trips to see spring ball will help Isaiah get a better feel for how things are run at Syracuse in order to prepare himself even further for his time with the Orange.
”His focus is on getting better so that when he gets to Syracuse, he can help them out as much as possible,” McDuffie said. “We’re just very, very happy and very, very honored about the commitment itself. This is where he’s going to spend the next four or five years of his life when he’s done here. His focus is definitely on becoming a better player and a better young man.”