Monday, July 14, 2008

the recruit: tucker windle

Lucky Michigan bloggers. From the Rich Rodriguez saga to new uniforms to the Chucknorrisesque Mike Barwis to the Big Ten Network, there is no shortage of news to keep them and their readers occupied. Hell, there's even news about the guys who didn't get hired as coach, let alone the supernova of drama that surrounds the guy that did. They even have a hockey team which is worth a post or two each week. We don't have a hockey team. I want a hockey team. A varsity one, playing in U-Hall.

Michigan fans (and I should know, I am one, having grown up in those parts) are mostly sick and tired of this and want the stupid football season to begin so there can stop being so much damn news. Virginia fans (and I should know, I am one, having gone to school in those parts) are also tired of this and want the stupid football season to begin so there can start being some damn news.

But me whining about having nothing to write doesn't make it happen. So, having made it my business to write, I can either blab on or I can give you another section of The Recruit.

So let's talk about Tucker Windle.

Name: Tucker Windle
Position: TE/OLB
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
School: Charlotte Catholic
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 221
40: 4.7

ESPN: 150 Watch List
Rivals: 5.6, three stars, #21 TE
Scout: three stars, #28 SLB

Windle was the first out of state commit brought in by Groh and Co., but this is a kid whose Virginia connections are just as deep as any Virginian - his dad is Al Windle, a former UVA linebacker. Ah, but there was competition: both parents have a degree from Wake Forest. And indeed, throughout his recruitment, UVA and Wake led every step of the way. Windle had a fairly impressive offer list: besides the two legacies, he had offers from Wisconsin, NC State, Duke, and VT, and UGA was showing some major interest.

So what are we getting here? A pretty darn good tight end prospect, actually. The recruiting services are generally in agreement: decent speed, very good hands, decent blocker, etc. Windle looks like a good bet to maintain the excellent Al Groh legacy of tight ends in the fine tradition of Heath Miller, Tom Santi, and......sccccreeeeeeeccccchhhhh fzzzzzzzzzzzzttt......

Back up the tape.

Check out the links again (if you subscribe to Rivals.) Here's one that you can read free.

Over the weekend, rising senior Tucker Windle, from Charlotte Catholic (N.C.), picked Virginia over three other ACC schools and Wisconsin, electing to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Cavalier linebacker.

“Virginia has tradition,” Windle said. “They have been doing it for so long and since my dad went there and played linebacker, I thought it would be special if I went there and played that same position.”

That's right.....Windle was recruited to play linebacker, despite that he's listed as a tight end in most places. Rivals, ESPN, RecruitingPlanet, you name it. Scout, which is usually the laziest of the recruiting services, is the only one listing him as a linebacker.

Sadly, the linebacker highlights are not terribly revealing, except for one thing: maybe his coverage skills are a bit lacking? There's only one coverage highlight to go by, so that's not entirely fair. The highlight is supposed to show us what terrific speed Windle has, chasing down a receiver who's caught a pass and is thinking wheeeeeeeeeee touchdown. The catch: Windle was covering the man and let him slip behind coverage. Maybe it was zone coverage? Could be, but essentially, Tucker was cheating and looking in the backfield, which should have told him not to break off coverage because nobody was coming out of it. The blitz-and-sack highlights are fun, but don't tell us anything because they're the result of some poor sap of an offensive tackle getting confused, trying to block two people at once and blocking nobody at all.

The obvious caveat here is that I'm basically breaking down four plays out of a whole season.

So.....ignore the tight end highlights? Maybe. An Al Groh recruiting class is never without a TE or two, and there have been some pretty good ones lately: Joe Torchia in '06, Andrew Devlin in '07, Colter Phillips in '08. There is never any shortage of competition for TE spots, and in an Al Groh offense, no shortage of uses for a TE. If Logan Thomas joins up then the likelihood of seeing Tucker Windle exclusively at linebacker goes way up. However, the coaches did also speak of lining him up at H-back in certain situations, goal line drills, what have you. (This is where we saw Torchia last year.) Not that it would surprise anyone if Groh decided to bring out the never-yet-seen 8-TE formation for a goal line play.

No comments: