Friday, January 29, 2010

the recruit: Jake McGee

Two things first:

One: fahhhhhkkkkk. Do not use Yahoo's gametracker to follow games, ever. Last night's game turned out bad enough, but it wasn't on TV around these parts so I did what I normally do in such situations: follow along on a gametracker. Yahoo somehow forgot to record VT's 65th point, so after Sammy hit his three-pointer with no time left, the screen said 65-64, final. Yay! No, actually, boo - and then, dammit. It makes losing, like, twice the fun. As for the game itself, choking away a lead (more than once) makes for a pretty good lesson in closing out an opponent, but couldn't we have learned that same lesson against NC State? Hopefully we get ours back in a couple weeks.

Two. It's a common complaint among UVA fans that recruits who verbal our way, especially early, get the "UVA discount" in their star ratings. Oh, you picked Virginia over Penn State? I guess you really don't need that fourth star. It does work both ways, though, and that brings us to Miles Gooch, whose ESPN evaluation magically showed up a day or two after his verbal here. Suddenly, Gooch is our highest rated recruit for 2010. It says some interesting things, too, like: "Gooch is a very intriguing quarterback and athlete that is comparable to another QB in this class, Devin Gardner." (!!) Well hell, Rivals thinks Gardner is the best QB in the country this year. Athleticism is definitely a trait they have in common, but the other similarity would be their delivery - Gardner's is weird and ESPN goes on to call Gooch's "almost indescribable." That's not a good thing. But his arm strength is, as is his athleticism, and the ringing endorsement from one of the scouting services bumps up the intrigue on Gooch a notch.

Now for yet another quarterback-playin' dude that might or might not do that in college.

Name: Jake McGee
Position: QB (? TE?)
Hometown: Richmond
School: Collegiate
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 210

ESPN: no ranking
Rivals: 5.2, two stars
Scout: isn't aware of his existence

McGee has managed to be something of a catalyst in dividing the UVA fanbase in their evaluation of Mike London's recruiting efforts thus far. One school of thought says, "Great, we're competing with ODU and Richmond for recruits now. Nice to see London has turned us into a I-AA program." On the other hand, there's: "Heath Miller was a lightly-recruited quarterback who we turned into a tight end and that worked out pretty well, and besides, Groh ignored the last quarterback to come out of Collegiate and NC State got the spoils." (That would be Russell Wilson.)

Both of you, stop it, you're being retarded.

Obviously, Heath Miller was on the far right end of the bell curve. And just because Collegiate turned out a pretty damn good quarterback last time doesn't mean they will this time. I never want to hear this argument again. And on the other hand, anyone who bellyaches about the ratings and profiles of the recruits we're getting doesn't have a handle on reality; from which part of the thin air would you like London to pull a few four-stars at this stage of the recruiting game?

That said, I would have to lean a little toward the side that has to wonder if McGee really will be a contributor. His stats are impresivo, no question, as with all D-I quarterbacks. And his performance in the state championship game was nothing short of mindblowing. Seven touchdowns - four throwing and three rushing. Almost 400 yards of offense generated by himself, divided between the passing and rushing. And he plays safety, too, and picked off a pass to stop an enemy drive to the end zone. This is small-school stuff, the private-school championship, so take it for what you will, but clearly McGee had no peer on the field that day.

But when it came down to brass tacks, his only offers were from Richmond and Princeton. And this isn't because nobody knew where to look for him. Like I said, Collegiate turned out Russell Wilson, so ACC schools know about the place, and at least five of them poked their noses around the place looking for tapes and stuff on McGee, UVA included. It didn't result in a single I-A offer. Football programs ranging the spectrum from Northwestern to Florida recruited him a bit but didn't offer. At Richmond he was probably one of the prize recruits in the class - like, QB of the future type - but at UVA, he's honestly going to have a hard time squeezing into the mix, especially as he's the third recruit in this class alone to be listed by the services as a quarterback. The likelihood of his remaining there remains slim, as Strauss was the first guy the new regime offered and Gooch is the Devin Gardner-like athlete with the rocket arm and weird-ass delivery.

So what'll it be for McGee? The height screams tight end. One negative of the short-lived Gregg Brandon experiment was that it drove off half the tight ends and we spent the summer and fall not really recruiting any, so there's definitely an opening or two. If we don't gain any tight ends by trade between now and Signing Day, you can probably write it in pen for McGee. Even if we do, the mix at quarterback is getting crowded and I don't see McGee breaking into it. It's not a stretch to imagine him on defense, either. He's actually a little tall for a college safety and a little light (right now) for linebacker, but if he can put on enough weight for tight end he can play linebacker too. All speculation at this point, some of it the result of my overactive imagination. Sign him now, figure out where to put him later. That's kind of the way it tends to be with guys like McGee, who played quarterback in high school because for a lot of schools that's just where you put your best athlete. And McGee plays basketball well enough to have gained some interest from a few D-I schools there, too - athleticism is not in question. Redshirt year seems guaranteed while the coaching staff figures this question out, and we'll check in two years down the road to see about how much he'll see the field once we know where he settles in.

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