Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the recruit: LoVante' Battle

Yeah, it's been a while and you thought I wasn't doing these any more, didn't you?

Name: LoVante' Battle
Position: S
Hometown: Hampton
School: Phoebus
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 190
40: 4.45

ESPN: 40 (means: "dunno")
Rivals: 5.0, two stars, not ranked at position
Scout: two stars, #124 safety

In a patently unfair nutshell, LoVante' Battle is the lowest-ranked prospect we've looked at so far. Battle's recruiting tale is also probably the shortest so far. An offer from UVA put him on the radars in May; he committed four days later. Thus, no matter how good he really is, those star-ratings aren't likely to change, previously unnoticed but solidly committed players being rather low on the priority list for those stingy star-givers.

Normally, the tale is rather easy: these sorts of players almost always come from an under-recruited county out in the hills or on the farms or in Canada, and you can chalk it up to a lack of scouting in general. Battle, however, goes to Phoebus in Hampton: one of the better football schools in the most talent-rich region in the state. Tech's standout linebacker Xavier Adibi is from Phoebus, and one of Battle's teammates there is the very heavily recruited Tajh Boyd. Scouts know Phoebus.

Battle definitely has his pluses. He likes to hit, he's fast, he's pretty smart, and he's really fast. Battle is a track star and one of the best sprinters in the state. Oh, and he can play football. Though he was recruited to UVA as a safety, he plays linebacker for Phoebus and led his team in tackles as a junior with 140.

So I don't know. You can look at it one of two ways: either the scouts were too busy being dazzled by Tajh Boyd to look at the defense where Battle was racking up the tackles, or they saw what they saw and there's a reason nobody heard of LoVante' Battle til he announced his commitment. The truth, as always, is in the middle somewhere. It's not like Battle was drawing zero interest from any D-IA school; on the other hand, the usual method of evaluating a prospect by the number of offers won't work here. Battle had just one other offer, which was from Norfolk State. And he won't get any more, because he's too solidly committed for these other schools to bother. Just going by what's out there probably isn't enough, because there's almost nothing out there; this makes Battle an excellent choice for keeping an eye on during his senior season.

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