Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the recruit: Connor McCartin

First, the news. The football team will be down one linebacker and the baseball team will add a player as John Bivens switches teams. Bivens is not in the two-deep at linebacker and is (by all accounts, at least in the linked article) a ferocious hitter, so this is probably a net plus for UVA athletics. Kind of like when Tom Hagan quit punting to focus on the diamond, which for the football team was addition by subtraction. You may remember Hagan as the punter who could not for the life of him send a ball any further than about 35 yards, except with a strong tailwind, and singlehandedly lost an FSU game for us. In case you're wondering, Hagan is playing single-A ball with the Hickory Crawdads, and while he doesn't look a threat to make the majors (though the Crawdads are a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate, so you never know) baseball was clearly the right choice over punting, as he was a standout ballplayer in college. Anyway, since we're short a linebacker, now's a good time for another look at an '09 recruit who just happens to be one.

Name: Connor McCartin
Position: MLB
Hometown: Warrenton
School: Fauquier
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 209
40: 4.75

ESPN: 40 (means: "shrug")
Rivals: 5.1, two stars, not ranked at position
Scout: two stars, #55 MLB

McCartin is another one of those guys whose recruiting was over before it really got interesting. It took him all of a weekend to jump on the first offer he got, and it probably helped at least a little bit that his brother Kyle is a walk-on QB on the team. McCartin had every intention of camping at Boston College and at Kansas, but thought otherwise shortly after getting the UVA offer.

So, unfortunately, the usual method of checking out the offer list doesn't really apply, unless you count BC's and KU's verbal promise of one. McCartin was also hearing from other regional schools like Maryland and Duke; this is nice, but getting letters in the mail is not quite the same as getting an offer.

Right now, he's a bit undersized for playing the middle - if you go with the 215 lbs. listed in the CDP article, he's still three pounds lighter than the lightest guy on our roster now, Steve Greer. And I'll wager Greer is bigger than the 218 he's listed at, because 218 was also his high school number listed by Rivals. So while McCartin's not that far off, still, the average linebacker in our two-deep is 234 lbs. Bottom line: Got some growing to do.

But, productivity is no issue. McCartin averaged over 13 tackles a game last year, and for good measure, threw in a few blocked punts, sacks, interceptions, and pass breakups. You know, all that good stuff that a good well-rounded linebacker is supposed to do. And it earned him first-team all-district, all-region, all-whatever.

So, given Groh's propensity for finding good linebackers, and the stats, and the offers that could have come but didn't, just go ahead and chuck the recruiting services' rankings. McCartin anchors a playoff-quality defense at Fauquier, and with three starters departing from the linebacking corps this year, there's little reason why a slightly bulked-up Connor McCartin can't compete for a spot in the two-deep right away.

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