first_img Published on October 22, 2015 at 8:37 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman In the first game of Jordan Fredericks’ sophomore year at Lawrence (New York) High School, he scored five touchdowns. Two receiving, three on the other side of the ball. He intercepted the Glen Cove (New York) High School quarterback three times and returned each for a pick-six.In his senior year, Fredericks often drove the team 80-plus yards with less than a minute to go before a half or at the end of game, Lawrence head coach Joe Martillotti said, all while under center running the two-minute offense.The Buccaneers were best with the ball in Fredericks’ hands, at any position, but there was only one he wanted to play in college.“Everyone else was like, ‘Well we love him, we want him, we’re going to offer him, but we don’t know where we’ll play him,’” Martillotti said. “Syracuse was committed to him as a running back from the get-go.”Six games into his college career and, aside from spurts in the wildcat formation, Fredericks has lined up as a running back every time he’s been on the field. Last week, he was given the starting nod ahead of juniors Devante McFarlane and George Morris, and against Virginia, scored his third rushing touchdown of the year. He’s reached the end zone a team-high four times, with a highlight-reel, 30-yard receiving touchdown against South Florida to go along with 5.3 yards per carry.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textGrowing up with four older brothers molded him for this year’s competition, one he’s risen to the top of despite being only 18 years old. And when Syracuse (3-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) hosts No. 25 Pittsburgh (5-1, 3-0) on Saturday, Fredericks will get his second start of a career he never envisioned beginning like this.“Little by little, a couple of reps turned into a couple of drives,” Fredericks said. “And now I’m the No. 1 running back and it feels great.”Inwood Park was home to the fields Fredericks got tossed around on near the family’s Inwood, New York home. Fredericks’ older brothers, Calvin, 29, Justin, 25, Ryan, 21 and Tyler, 19, fostered a culture of competition that he’s leaned on early in his SU career. Off the field, they competed in Madden NFL video games, manhunt and who could do chores better around the house. Jordan even caught flack for helping opponents up on the field and congratulating them after big plays.Ryan and Tyler played running back for Lawrence when Jordan was a freshman, forcing him out of his comfort zone to slot receiver. Ryan recalls “losing his mind” at Jordan when he fumbled in a game his freshman year, angry that he let his play reflect his age.“They didn’t baby him,” Jordan’s mother, Atasha Mays-Fredericks said. “They treated him like if he was their equal, which made him a little tougher.”When Martillotti expanded Fredericks’ role at quarterback, Mays-Fredericks told the head coach that wasn’t her son’s position. But he needed the ball in his best player’s hands whenever possible since Sean Moran, the team’s normal quarterback, was a converted slot receiver.Fredericks threw the ball plenty despite being a true running back and some teams even tried to court him as a signal-caller. Others saw him as a slot receiver. Different teams envisioned him as big and fast enough to play defensive back.“You’re never really sure in college, you know, they can tell you whatever you want to hear and then when you get here, you can switch a position,” Fredericks said. “But it meant a lot that (Syracuse) was actually serious about me playing running back.”Fredericks overtook McFarlane and Morris by simply being more productive. The Syracuse coaches keep a chart, using tick marks, progress lines and a point system to distinguish which players are actually producing — Fredericks has been measured in areas such as yards after contact and touchdowns — from ones that might just look good going through the motions.He’s even fine-tuned the cadences when practicing at quarterback in the wildcat and shown a once-nervous Tim Lester that he can move around the tight ends before the snap as well.“He tells me that all the time,” the offensive coordinator said. “’Coach, I played quarterback, I’m fine.’”Fredericks was lying in bed in between classes when he found out he’d climbed to No. 1 on the depth chart last Monday. He received a Twitter notification on his phone and called his parents, who told him to be humble and that similar triumphs happen all the time.Starting as a freshman is something he’s used to even though he didn’t expect it here. Running backs coach DeAndre Smith told Fredericks he’d see carries “here and there” in the first couple games.“You’re telling him this is a blessing, you’re lucky,” his uncle, Duane Fredericks said. “Not too many freshmen get to start.”When Lawrence won the Long Island III championship last year, parents came up to Mays-Fredericks and began crying since they wouldn’t be able to watch her son play anymore. During Fredericks’ speech for the Thorp Award, given to Nassau County’s top player, he told the crowd he wanted to bring the Heisman back for them.Though his lofty goals at Syracuse may not come in the near future, the foundation for them has been set. And before he left for school, Fredericks was stopped by his mother and broadly asked what he wanted to do for the football team.“I’m going to be that guy that they can count on,” he said. “… The same way I was in high school.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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