National Signing Day 2014: Joe Blue signs with South Carolina

The first player to commit to the Gamecocks' 2014 class makes it official.

The tone for the 2014 class began when Joe Blue committed to the Gamecocks last January. Over a year later, the talented three-star linebacker/fullback has signed his National Letter of Intent to play football for South Carolina. Blue is rated the No. 31 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 22 overall prospect in the state of South Carolina according to the 247Sports composite index, which equally weighs the ratings from the four major recruiting services. Blue signed with the Gamecocks over offers from Auburn, Florida, Georgia Tech, and Southern California.

The 5'11 235-pounder can best be described as a powerful train that enjoys running over everyone and everything. In fact, Blue is known for his physical play on both offense and defense. What makes the Dillon product so productive is the fact that he is able to blend his physical power with a combination of quickness and agility. Though he was used primarily at linebacker in high school, the Gamecock coaching staff has told him that they plan to start him at fullback once he gets on campus, a move that he seems to be receptive to. On film, Blue shows goods speed, with great hands, and the ability to consistently score when given the ball in red zone situations. During his junior year, his weight ballooned to 265 pounds. As a senior, he was able to lose around 30 pounds and played his final season at 235 pounds while earning a selection to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Look for him to play at or around that 235 pound mark while in Columbia.

Though South Carolina's base offense doesn't include a fullback, there's a chance for Blue to get a look in 2014 if he proves to be in good enough shape. Due to his physical play and large frame, he's a player that could contend for playing time on special teams or potentially see some action in red zone situations. Whether or not he plays will depend upon how hard he is willing to work to learn the playbook.

Steve Spurrier has shown that he will use a fullback if there is a good enough player to warrant putting on the field, as he did with Patrick DiMarco. The most likely scenario is that Blue redshirts in 2014 and challenges for the starting fullback role in 2015.

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