Would you believe that who many consider to be the top junior running back in the country didn’t play football in junior high?
Well, technically, he played, but not like he was expecting to.
Jaydon Blue not only dislocated his right knee in the first game of his seventh grade season, which caused him to miss the rest of the year, but dislocated the same knee in the first game of his eighth grade season.
Two season openers. Two knee dislocations. One kid asking himself, ‘Why, again?’
“I was running to the outside and tried to plant,” Blue said of the second incident. “When I planted, my leg just stuck in the ground and snapped.”
His doctor told him that if an injury like that ever happened again, there was a likelihood that he might not ever play football again. Ever.
Prior to junior high, Blue’s exploits on the youth football scene had already made him somewhat of a local star around Houston. He was simply better than everyone else.
So by the time the second injury occurred, even for as young as he was, there were those doubting his future. He was that big of a deal already.
“When the injury happened I never doubted myself, but most people did,” he said. “I had faith in myself that I was going to come back even better. I zone stuff out like that. But that’s what made me work even harder. I wanted to change people’s minds.”
Oh, he’s definitely done that.
In two seasons at Klein Cain High School, Blue has impressed enough to be tabbed as the No. 1 running back in the country for the class of 2022 by Rivals and the No. 4 RB overall by 247Sports.
A unique blend of strength and breakaway speed (4.43 40-yard dash), Blue has established himself as one of the country’s premiere recruits all while overcoming personal adversity at such a young age.
Doubters be damned.
“I’m blessed,” said Blue, who says he is 5-foot-11.5 and 210 pounds. “I remember freshman year I was telling people I’d have offers by that year or my sophomore year. My first offer came in the middle of my freshman year and it was Arizona State. That’s when everything just blew up. So I just worked extra hard and I have great coaches that stay on me about my grades.”
The Longhorns were next to throw their hat in the ring after the Sun Devils. Then Arkansas, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Mississippi State, USC, Alabama, etc.
That list of offers has grown to 30 with two full seasons of high school ball left to dominate.
“Blue has a combination of speed, quickness, vision, and balance,” said Greg Powers, President of Next Level Athlete and the senior recruiting analyst for TexasFootball.com. “Footwork is one of his top attributes, and he can get by the defender in many ways. Blue can run between the tackles or around the edge, so he continually puts pressure on the defense. If you are looking for the total package; character and talent -- then Blue is your guy!”
Usually, recruits will talk with a particular college coach that has been assigned that region of the state until interest has been established, and then the position coach will get in the mix. It take a rare breed for head coaches to get directly involved, especially for non-seniors.
Blue, who said he is 100 percent healthy, has already become such a commodity that he has regular, weekly conversations with several head coaches, including Texas’ Tom Herman, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and LSU’s Ed Orgeron.
“I talk to Coach Lincoln and Coach Herman almost every day on the phone,” Blue said. “Those two schools I have great relationships with them.”
He’s also built an incredible bond with Sooners running backs coach DeMarco Murray, who rushed for over 7,000 yards and 49 touchdowns during a celebrated seven-year NFL career.
“Coach Murray talks to me a bunch. He’s one of the coaches I talk to the most,” Blue said. “Knowing he played in the NFL and is almost a Hall of Famer… We talk every day. One time we’ll talk for like 30 minutes or an hour about anything. I FaceTime’d him the other day to watch them practice. He even calls me before practice.”
Such is the life for the No. 1 RB in the country, whose consistent phone notifications could rival that of a Kardashian.
“To be the No. 1 running back in the country is insane,” Blue said. “Everyone basically in the state knows me. My phone goes off every day; Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat. Everyone is just blowing me up. I never get a break.”
Blue doesn’t mind it though. He knows this is an opportunity that doesn’t happen to everyone. He’s thankful for the position he’s in.
“For me, I’m taking everything super slow,” he said. “I’m just enjoying everything. It’s basically a life decision. A lot of people ask me when I’ll commit and I’m not sure because I want to make sure I pick the right school.”
Many view Texas as the team to beat right now, but Blue insists that he doesn’t have a pure leader at this point.
“Honestly, people ask me that all the time. Right now I don’t have a top 5,” said Blue, who wants to be an engineer post-football. “I’m just enjoying everything and taking it slow. I might not drop a top 5 and just commit. I’m just enjoying everything and waiting for that time to come.”
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