Transfer Quarterback Blake Wayne Hopes to Lead Rams to Sucessful 2010 Season


As the sun wanes on Jack Coffey Field, the Fordham Rams are locked in a tight battle against Rhode Island University. The fate of the game lies in the hands of their new starting quarterback, sophomore-recruit Blake Wayne, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’13.

As the home crowd yearns for a win, Wayne energetically yells out a play to his new teammates. With almost 10 minutes left in the half and the score tied at zero, Wayne receives the snap. His eyes lock on to an open wide receiver.

He throws the ball and connects with his man. The bleachers thunder in anticipation and… Touchdown! The Fordham stands roar as everybody realizes that replacing JohnSkelton, FCRH ’10, is nothing to worry about, although Wayne never planned on doing that.

Since former quarterback and now-Fordham legend Skelton was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals earlier this year, this season’s Rams’ offense must now trust in Wayne’s decision-making on the field.

For head coach Tom Masella, replacing Skelton was not his plan for this season; rather, he needed another play-maker. Enter Blake Wayne. “He’s not John Skelton,” Masellasaid. “He’s a totally different kind of quarterback. I thought for his first college start [against Bryant University], he did a great job for us. He protected the football and he made a lot of big plays.”

Wayne shares similiar views with his head coach on his role in the offense. The new quarterback does not plan on replacing Skelton, nor does he even plan on leaving a legacy behind. Rather, he intends to become a smarter player.

“I wouldn’t say I feel pressure,” Wayne said. “Obviously, we’ve got big shoes to fill. I just feel like if I play my game and give the ball to my teammates, I’ll put my team in the best situation, and let the team be able to win.”

Despite having had experience leading his nationally-ranked high school football team, De La Salle, to the 2008 North Coast Division Championship, his road to Fordham was considerably slow and disappointing to him.

Out of high school Wayne was recruited by small Division II and Division III schools, but he was not expected to be their starting quarterback. He also received a couple of walk-on offers to play defensive back at more reputable schools, but he decided to go to DiabloValley Junior College instead, in hopes of polishing his skill for better opportunities.

“The process was slow because nobody really wanted to give a scholarship to a 5’10 quarterback. But I kept working hard and it paid off,” Wayne said.

While playing for Diablo Valley, many schools including Old Dominion, Central Connecticut, Cal Poly and Stony Brook offered him scholarships, but Skelton’s legacy andMasella’s reassurance helped him decide on Fordham.

As for entering a team that was already established, Wayne fit right in. Not only hasMasella recognized and responded to his “high-energy” playing style, but Rams’ captain and wide-receiver Jason Caldwell, FCRH ’11, also appreciated the skill set  he brought to the team.

“The only difference I see is Blake can go,” Caldwell said. “He’s got those wheels and he’s got the motor. He’s really fast. He led the team in rushing last game. He’s a great athlete, but I wouldn’t compare the two. As a wide receiver, you have to trust your quarterback and just develop great chemistry with him. He’s my eyes on the field.”

While Wayne is uncertain about going pro like his self-professed mentor Skelton, one thing is for sure: expect the unexpected for Blake Wayne.

“After college I’ll become a professional surfer,” Wayne said jokingly. “If that doesn’t work out, I’ll probably be a police officer. Both my parents are police officers, so I’ve kind of just grown up around it my whole life. It’s something that interests me—to be out on the streets. I’m not really the kind of guy to be behind the desk doing paperwork,” Wayne said.

From presently arresting the crowd’s attention with the electricity he brings to the games to the possibility of clearing the streets of criminals in the future, Blake Wayne’s progression from the junior college boy to Fordham’s leading man will be enthralling to watch for the next few years.