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Early Signing Day: Transfer linebacker James Heard Jr. commits to Syracuse

New Jersey’s linebackers are loving the Orange.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Louisville at Virginia Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to National Early Signing Day(s) for the Class of 2024! Can the Syracuse Orange close the deal with their committed players? Do we get any early Christmas presents that we didn’t know about?

We’re going to be updating those signing with the Orange. Next one up is:

Name: James Heard Jr.

Hometown: Camden, NJ

Previous School: West Virginia University

Stats: 6'2", 230 lbs.

Position: Linebacker

Ratings: Four stars on and three stars on ESPN, 247Sports and On3

Other Offers: Heard Jr. originally committed to the Mountaineers in June 2022 over 14 other offers from programs like Nebraska, Kentucky, Duke, Penn State, Texas A&M and Ole Miss. He announced he was entering the transfer portal on December 9 before committing to join Syracuse on Sunday.

Twitter/Instagram feed: @JamesHeardjr/@jamesheardjr

Player Breakdown: Heard Jr. didn’t see much playing time with West Virginia, so the transfer to Syracuse signals that he’ll get a decent role under Fran Brown. The Orange in recent years have produced some good defensive units, and Heard Jr. will look to be a part of that trend next season. As a rusher, he brings good speed on the edge and looks to finesse his way around O-lineman. As a fringe top-15 linebacker in New Jersey, Heard Jr. had 38 tackles, 18 sacks and three forced fumbles during his senior year of high school. If that can translate to college, Syracuse has found itself a gem.