Wednesday, October 8, 2008

the recruit: Tyree Watkins

Like some kind of bizarre football Katamari, we roll through the world of football and collect a few small items for your perusal and my piercing commentary. Then we will take a look at committed-but-not-all-the-way-committed recruit Tyree Watkins

First, it appears a temporary bubble is on its way to being built in the parking lot between the Cage and the tracks - this bubble would provide some semblance of an indoor practice facility for the team. There is also talk in the article of a more permanenty facility eventually someday maybe being built. Um, those trailers are still sitting behind the Physics building, right? Just checking. Hope recruits like big white bubbles.

To the puzzlement of many, there was a #28 on the field against Maryland with no name on the jersey; this of course was Rodney McLeod. The ESPNU commentators were amazingly sharp on that one. The prevailing theory was that the coaches realized he and Cary Koch were on the same special teams unit and couldn't wear the same number; consider it confirmed. McLeod may see a number switch soon. The conundrum is that coaches like to keep some numbers reserved for precisely such occasions; between retired numbers and ineligible ones there are precious few available.

Ike Whitaker over in Blacksburg is in trouble, and whining about it, which would carry more credence if he hadn't added another arrest to his record the day after the suspension. He "made it clear that he takes responsibility for the arrest" and that he didn't know how else to handle his suspension but drink. The problem is, that while he has a plan for himself and all that for his post-VT career (which probably started the same day of the suspension) that plan did not include the word "rehab." Tech is now short a wide receiver, which probably won't impact them too much, and a running back, which does hurt their depth.

Some quick other-sports news: The baseball schedule has been released. Not much comment here. The baseball schedule is always pretty much the same: an assortment of in-state and regional mid-major types followed by the ACC minefield. And the soccer team continued its shutout streak against Liberty, with Jimmy Simpson providing some of that secondary scoring that we'll have to have to get any success this season. You can pretty much rest assured that Tony Tchani is good for a goal in any particular game, but he can't do it all by himself. Simpson and Matt Mitchell have stepped up nicely there.

OK - time to see about a recruit:

Name: Tyree Watkins
Position: WR
Hometown: Camden, NJ
School: Camden
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 175
40: 4.5

ESPN: 74, #110 WR
Rivals: 5.7, three stars, #60 WR
Scout: three stars, #90 WR

Watkins is a guy who's not 100% sure about his commitment. Verbal commitments, of course, are worth the paper they're (not) written on, but Watkins' commitment is softer than most. He's also hard to get a read on. ESPN mentions a broken collarbone suffered during the third game of his junior year, which limited him; frankly, we should all be so limited, as he was just shy of 1,000 receiving yards. An injury like that could explain the pretty fierce discrepancy between rankings. WRs don't usually see that much discrepancy - the top five and ten are pretty similar across all the services. It's not open to as much subjectivity as, say, offensive guard.

So it's weird that ESPN and Scout would consider Watkins very meh indeed, while Rivals gives him the best rating they give three-stars - a 5.8 would be four-star territory. The old standby, of course, is the offer list, and it's encouraging and leads you more toward the Rivals ranking than the ESPN. For some perspective, the guy ranked ahead of Watkins on ESPN's list committed to Duke over Troy and Ole Miss. Watkins' offer list includes Penn State, Iowa, and Pitt.

There's even discrepancy on what should be pretty solid measurables. None of the services list the same height or weight or 40 time. What's listed above is ESPN's height/weight, because it's in the middle, and Rivals' 40 time, because Scout lists 4.75 which is crazy different and also linebacker or drop-back quarterback territory.

On the other hand, Watkins isn't actually terribly fast, or at least does not appear so on the highlights. He runs well in space as long as he's going straight ahead; when he tries to outrun someone laterally is when he gets tackled. Defenses do seem to fear him because they are giving him just utterly insane cushions, which his coaches are using nicely to their advantage because quite a number of his highlights are curl routes or long handoffs to let him work with the 10 yards of space in front of him.

This year, however, has not been kind to Watkins thus far. You'll notice he hasn't shown up on Mondays in this space along with the rest of the skill-position recruits; this is not because I can't find Camden results, but because Camden results through four games have been uncannily similar to UVA results through four games. As best I can tell he has not scored a touchdown yet this season (though that comes with the usual caveat that I know shit for a fact) and Camden has yet to win a game (this I do know.)

So what of the commitment? Watkins calls himself a soft verbal and seems to be the type that liked the last visit the best. He was a camp commit this summer, and claimed to be ready to settle down and take no more visits after his trip to Charlottesville to take in the USC game. Of course, those who clicked on that first link will note that it details a visit to Penn State. So we'll see - he seems to like what he sees no matter where he goes. The official visit is scheduled for the Miami game, at which it's our turn to wine him and dine him and hopefully after that he won't want to take any more visits. But it'll still be three months to Signing Day.

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