Friday, December 11, 2009

the recruit: Michael Strauss

It's been so long since I've gotten to do one of these, I almost forgot I was supposed to.

Name: Michael Strauss
Position: QB
Hometown: Miami, FL
School: Gulliver Prep
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 200

ESPN: 76, #73 QB
Rivals: 5.6, three stars, #42 pro-style QB
Scout: two stars, #114 QB

When Tyler Brosius walked off the scene in October, it was scramble time. We have only three scholarship quarterbacks returning next year, and it might be more like two and a half because Riko Smalls was practicing with the receivers for a while there. So this is sort of what I meant when I said, once upon a time as our recruiting ground to a screeching halt, that it wasn't going to be about the names we've been following and the commits were going to have to come from guys not yet on the radar screen. Which, if you let it, is a nice way of saying we're cleaning up the scraps.

Now, if you're a star-watcher, Strauss has about as many of them as you can expect at this stage of the game. If you prefer to check out the offers, he's got that one from Alabama which is interesting considering they already have Philip Sims in the fold. You sort of have to wonder just how committable that offer was - Nick Saban can be kind of an offer cannon. But it's better than none at all.

Me, I don't trust that Alabama offer. Not even sure he ever received it in writing. So the real list is more like the assortment of non-BCS mud-dwellers that offered: schools like Akron, Western Michigan, FIU, and the school he decommitted from in order to commit here, Tulane. That's about standard for the guys surrounding him on the ranking list.

Strauss's arm doesn't look like the strongest in the world. He looks like he's giving it all he's got just to get it 40 yards downfield. This might account for why a lot of SEC schools took their looks in the spring and didn't offer. That said: 71% completion percentage, yo. That's as a junior. That's nothing to sneeze at. For a high school quarterback looking to play D-IA football, 60% is kind of a baseline expectation, but 70% is where you really take notice. Even system quarterbacks like at Houston or Texas Tech don't get that high unless they're good system quarterbacks. You remember Andrew Hendrix? Four-star type that we recruited hard and that ended up at Notre Dame? 61% as a junior. Give me a choice between an accurate quarterback and a strong-armed one and I'll take the former all day.

Also, there's this: Strauss is already as big as any scholarship QB we'll have next year. And if he gets his way, he'll enroll early and be right there with everyone else, learning the same offense at the same time as our other quarterbacks. (When fans complain that the UVA administration doesn't properly support the football team, this is exactly what they mean. Strauss shouldn't have to ask. Check to see if he meets the requirements and if the answer is yes, for Welsh's sake let him in. Unfortunately we don't have any requirements outside of "enroll in the fall.")

Personally, I'd rather not have Strauss on the field next year - if a true freshman comes in and beats out a fifth-year senior (that'd be Verica) for the job, a long, long season is in order. And not long as in "we still get to play a game in December or January." I like Strauss's accuracy and I like his brains. (When a kid lists, early on, Duke and Vandy among the favorites and eventually commits to Tulane, brains are involved.) Best-case in my mind is to redshirt Strauss and then put him, Metheny, and Smalls in a steel cage match in 2011 for the starting job. If Strauss is allowed to enroll early, there's no reason being a year behind Metheny should be an obstacle.

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