Friday, June 19, 2009

the recruit: E.J. Scott

Name: E.J. Scott
Position: WR
School: Our Lady of Good Counsel (MD)
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 170

ESPN: 76
Rivals: 5.5, three stars
Scout: NR

I will freely admit here that there is very little to say here, or at least very little that I can think of to say. (I know. Bitch bitch bitch, it's all I ever do.) E.J. Scott is like, wide receiver in a box. His recruitment was about as drama-free as it's possible to be. His ratings are bleh. (A little bit unfairly low, I think, but there you go.) He's a slot, moonlights a little bit at defensive back, got plenty of speed and talent, blah blah blah, you know the drill.

Actually, maybe you don't, because here's the thing: Scott is a little bit of a new breed of animal as far as UVA is concerned. This is a Gregg Brandon offer through and through. Scott will be the shortest scholarship receiver on the roster when he shows up next year. We've typically ignored shorter receivers, unless they're just stupid fast like Javaris Brown, because pro-style offenses like our old ones have little use for short receivers. The number of under-six-foot receivers we've offered in the past, like, six years, you can count them on one hand. The number of actual commitments is even smaller. New OC, new times.

Guys like E.J. Scott are finding a new niche for themselves with the spread in full force throughout the country, though. It helps that Scott is very very fast himself, but ten years ago he'd be looking at a conversion to defensive back no matter where he landed. Now he can stick with offense and line up in the slot, an inside receiver position in the spread that lines up a little further back in the backfield than a traditional third possession receiver might and catches a lot of bubble screens and things like that. Playing the slot involves a skill set awfully similar to returning kicks and punts: size doesn't matter, speed and the ability to take hits do.

As for his ability, well, like I said, he's kind of wide-receiver-in-a-box: he's got speed, good catching skills, can return kicks, athletic enough to play two ways, it's kind of a common tale. Scott's got a good set of offers but a middling and unimpressive guru rating - I suspect an upwards nudge is possible given a good senior season. I'm not worried about it though. He's got a decent sampling of ACC, Big East, and Big Ten offers (including Wisconsin, which is weird because Wisconsin runs a throwback power game predicated on being bigger than you) and any time we can win a battle with Maryland for a player in their state, that's a good deal.

One thing we'll have to get used to is thinking of wide receivers like linebackers - there's an inside and an outside and they're not interchangeable. That's where there's good news for Scott. There aren't many of his type on the roster yet. Not to say there'll be a starting spot waiting for him, but his competition is limited and you know how it's been with Gregg Brandon so far: he's going to try and shove as many receivers on the field as he can. Scott is a weapon, plain and simple, and he's a big reason why I think this class is looking good to outperform its star rating as a whole.

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