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Get to Know Your Orange Man: #15, LB Derek McDonald

The redshirt sophomore looking to continue his role as a starter next season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 19 Syracuse at Wake Forest

It’s time to start preparing for the upcoming Syracuse Orange football season. We’re going through the roster to take a look at each Syracuse player as we get ready for a critical season for the Orange.

Up next is….

Name: Derek McDonald

Position: Linebacker

Year: Redshirt sophomore

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 225 lbs

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

High School/Previous College: Marist School

2022 stats: McDonald racked up 43 tackles (22 solo), one interception, one sack, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble after entering the Orange’s starting lineup in place of Stefon Thompson. He played in nine games and started eight of those, only missing the last two due to injury.

2023 projections: With Syracuse’s defense losing some key pieces at linebacker and in coverage, McDonald will look to continue rounding out into a multi-skilled linebacker entering his second full year with the Orange. He’s been an excellent cog in the machine, but now comes the question of whether he can make more impact plays, especially in the middle of the field.

How’d he get here?: McDonald committed to Syracuse in May 2020 over offers from Villanova, UConn, Princeton, Harvard and other programs. He took a redshirt year in 2021 before inserting himself into a more expanded role this past season.

What’d recruiting sites say?: Three stars across the board.

Money quote: Even with offers from highly-ranked colleges, including a trio of Ivy League ones, McDonald knew Syracuse provided the best quality through the Newhouse School:

“It was the right choice for me because it gives me a chance to play at the highest level and compete for championships,” McDonald said. “The incredible communications school is also something that drew me towards Syracuse. I am really interested in sports journalism and I know the Communications school has one of the best programs in the country,” McDonald said. “Many legendary sports commentators and writers graduated from Syracuse, and I would love to work to be in that realm when I graduate.”

Twitter feed: @derekmcd21

Instagram feed: @derek_mcd81

Instagram/Twitter posts of wonder: Still trying to figure out what the point of the fishing rod was, but credit for thinking outside the box I guess:

Interesting nugget o’interest: McDonald comes from a athletic family. His mother, Nina, ran track at North Carolina while his brother Kevin just wrapped up his last season at Marist.

Let’s get a look at ya: Here’s McDonald’s pick six from the Louisville game