USC commit Joe Blue plays the game like a locomotive

dmclemore@thestate.comSeptember 2, 2013 

Joe Blue, Dillon fullback and linebacker, and 2014 USC commitment

C MICHAEL BERGEN — mbergen@thestate.com

The roar from a train is a common sound around the town of Dillon.

Another train of sorts has returned to town this fall as fullback and linebacker Joe Blue suits up for his senior season at Dillon High.

"I like to use my power over other guys, running them over and everything," Blue said. "I get a thrill out of that."

The 5-foot-11, 235-pound class of 2014 South Carolina commitment is known for his physical play on offense and defense. His teammates regard Blue as a powerhouse and, yes, a locomotive.

"Yeah, I've heard that before," Blue said. "I don't stop. I don't want to stop. I want to keep going until the clock is over."

Blue had 17 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown to go with two tackles in Dillon's state title win in 2012. On the season he had 16 rushing touchdowns, many of them from short yardage.

"He can bowl people over. He's pretty agile, too, to be that big," said Dillon coach Jackie Hayes. "He just makes plays. When we get down in the red zone we like to give it to him because we know he's going to put it in."

A consensus three-star prospect and the No. 18 player in South Carolina, according to 247Sports, Blue committed to the Gamecocks on Jan. 19, almost a year to the date that Dillon's D.J. Park pledged to South Carolina for 2013. Both were the first commitments in their respective classes.

Blue chose USC over offers from Florida, Virginia Tech and others.

He could play fullback or inside linebacker at the next level. Hayes said Blue has good speed, great hands and "can definitley be a weapon out of the backfield."

At Dillon, he's utilized more as a linebacker.

"He runs to the ball," Hayes said. "When people try to scheme up for him they know they ahve to account for him with two people. That's a big factor for us."

Blue is the fourth Dillon standout to pick the Gamecocks the last three years. Wide receiver Kwinton Smith signed with USC in 2011, while offensive linemen King and Park officially joined the fold in 2012.

His focus this spring and summer was on being in better shape for his final year with the Wildcats.

Blue's weight "got away from him" last year and up to 265 pounds, Hayes said. He's in better shape now - closer to an ideal weight of 235 pounds - and showing more commitment to keeping it there, according to this coach.

"This is his year," Hayes said. "He's a senior. He's been following all the guys up until this year. His work ethic has showed he's ready to accept that responsibility."

Blue said he's up to the challenge.

"I'm teaching the young guys," Blue said. "I'm not going to slack up because I've been out here for four years. I want more. We want more. Let's go get it."

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