Monday, July 6, 2009

my plans are ruined

For at least a month now, probably more, I've been kicking around a big-picture sort of look at football recruiting, and the plan as originally conceived was to celebrate the halfway mark in the 2010 class with a where-do-we-go-from-here sort of post. We lose 12 scholarship seniors next year, so I have the class size pegged at 14 (there's always more attrition than just the seniors), which means halfway would have been 7. So naturally, we blow past the 7 mark while I'm focused on my long weekend and catching up on the really important things in life like golf, beer, and cheering as Kyle Busch's stupid ass goes careening into the wall where every Toyota in NASCAR belongs.

So today we'll get down to just that. You can start with a little supplemental reading: my latest piece, a four-man wish list that wouldn't quite complete the class, but would make me pretty happy with it if they all signed up. The other beginning point is that perhaps 14 is too small a guess. That would be by far the smallest class in recent memory (and by recent I mean like within a generation or two); the '08 class was 18. I'm still mad uncomfortable with the scholarship situation; you might remember we still have 88 on the books, although that's assuming Kyle Long will still be in camp this August and that is looking a lot less likely than it was two months ago.

Anyway, let's split this up by offense and defense:


Where we stand: We've got a well-rounded class of one QB, one RB, one WR, and one lineman, and I really like the haul so far. I continue to be of the belief that Kevin Parks, were he three or four inches taller, would be a mid-level four-star recruit. And even without that, he'd have about ten or fifteen offers if he were still uncommitted at this point. The other three have loads of talent too, and not only that, are local-ish guys who had offers from exactly the schools we want to keep the talent away from. No complaints at all about our work here.

Where we're going: The class needs, at a bare minimum, another WR for the outside and two more linemen. It looks like we're in the hunt for another quarterback too, and I think we'll take three receivers - two wouldn't be enough for the receiver-happy offense Gregg Brandon runs.

As far as quarterback goes, Purdue just landed a commitment from Illinois quarterback Sean Robinson. Why does this matter? Purdue was the other front-runner (besides us) for Stephen Morris, who we have an offer out to. Morris would drop like a hot potato if Florida or Ole Miss offered him, but as yet they haven't, and Robinson's commitment to Purdue just put us in the drivers' seat for now. Florida's not likely to offer Morris, and Ole Miss might but they'll probably wait for Munchie Legaux (another of our targets) before they send out any more.

On the other end of the passing game, I really really really want Alex Kenney. If we get him, another receiver such as the 6'6" Brandon Coleman would be in order, because both Kenney and Scott are slot types. Then there's Robby Havenstein and Khamrone Kolb for the line, both of whom cause solar eclipses. Along with the equally massive Shane Johnson, those are the three linemen we're after the hardest, because Al Groh wants his offensive line to be able to run blocking drills on the Statue of Liberty.

We're probably looking at anywhere from four to six more commitments for the class on offense; I guess I could see us taking seven but that would really, really be pushing it. We're in fair-to-good shape for most of the above players but none of them are the foregone-conclusion sort where the question is when rather than if.


Where we stand: This is a lot less....exciting.....than offense. I try very hard, in the introductory posts when a recruit signs up, to accentuate the positives on everyone, but here's a moment of uncomfortable honesty: I'm getting really tired of looking for reasons why we were after someone that nobody else was. There are five recruits on board right now; outside of Pablo Alvarez, the other four have five non-UVA I-A offers between them: two Navy, one each from Louisville, Temple, and New Mexico. Alvarez's aren't mega-inspiring either. Individually, you can look at each one and see quite a few reasons why they'll be a contributor, and odds are at least one of them will cause us in three years to point and laugh at the silliness of all those schools that didn't bother. Taken as a whole, though, it's kind of less than inspiring; it's not considered a recruiting coup to beat Temple and Navy for someone's services.

Where we're going: There's still a lot to covet on the board. And we need linemen. Of the five recruits so far, three are linebackers (two inside, one outside) and two are generic sort of defensive-back types which appear to be cornerbacks for now but nothing is in stone. We took so many DE's last year that I can't see us snagging more than two at the most this year; if I had my druthers Henry Anderson would be one of them. One or two more linebackers are in order, you know Groh is going to pack in the linebackers. One more OLB for sure - Marcus Rush and Jeremiah Attaochu (gesundheit) look like the top two candidates - and then maybe one more grab-bag, whoever-commits-first kind of thing.

There's flexibility at defensive back; we still have offers out to corners and safeties alike. We definitely need at least one actual safety, where Ed Reynolds would fit the bill nicely. I suspect the staff will simply take what comes their way and then shuffle as needed, however.

Four or five more looks like the number here, but with the caveat that nine total is likely to be the absolute limit, so even though I said six max for offense, we're not taking six there and five on defense. What that would do to our scholarship numbers.

Oh, before I forget (and this is a totally unrelated tangent from recruiting) go vote for Mark Reynolds for the All-Star Game. Not only is he a UVA alum, he's pretty obviously the actual deserving National League candidate (dude, 24 home runs. 24!) and it's not even close. Cast your vote for Brandon Inge, a Virginian, VCU alum, and (very importantly) Detroit Tiger on the American League side of things. Inge is also the clear choice: he's hitting better than everyone on the ballot but Adam Lind, who doesn't field a position.

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