Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ACC NLOID roundtable

GT blog extraordinaire From The Rumble Seat is hosting a Signing Day roundtable. This would sound like the sort of thing that you'd expect to see on Signing Day actual, but I have my own plans for that already which heavily involve the exact same thing I did last year, because that was a fun one to write. Think of it like getting to open one of your presents on Christmas Eve at the gathering with one side of the family.

1. Who is your prized prospect?

Easy. Assuming Morgan Moses is last year's recruit and figuring it's not even a guarantee he'll ever suit up for UVA, the top guy for 2010 is Parade All-American K.P. Parks, one of only three on that list to choose an ACC team. Parks gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to the ratings because he's short, slow-ish on the sprint, and committed last February even before the dust had quite settled on the '09 crop. But his game and his skills are eerily reminiscent of Mike Hart, Michigan's career rushing leader, and so are his high school stats. Parks is in a lot of record books for his high school exploits:

- State of North Carolina career rushing record with 10,895 yards.
- Third in national history in that category. Second? Mike Hart.
- National record for games of 100 yards or more with 55.
- National record for carries in a career.
- 158 touchdowns is second on North Carolina's all time list.

Not bad for someone who routinely got pulled in the second half of games on account of his team being state-champion caliber and usually having a six-touchdown lead by then.

2. How does your fanbase react to recruiting? Or do they just want to see results no matter the star count?

At the risk of insulting my readership, UVA fans have a tendency to wildly overrate the talent being brought in, especially if the player is coming from instate. Lots of players get the Pat White excuse, which is that Pat White was a two-star and turned out awesome. Recently people have been getting overly excited about Jake McGee for two reasons:

- The last lightly-recruited quarterback we converted into a tight end was Heath Miller.
- The last quarterback that Richmond Collegiate spit out was Russell Wilson and we were stupid for not offering him.

Never mind the highly outlierish qualities of these players or the complete lack of offers outside of Princeton and Richmond despite the fact that the whole ACC evaluated him.

The other theme is "why do we constantly get our ass kicked by VT for instate players?" This I can't call into question. It leads to a general overrating of the importance of certain aspects of recruiting, like "if we offer more instate players, then later years' instate players will see we care about Virginia's players and decide to come here," which is bunk. But the premise is a bullseye: we can't keep losing the instate battles and expect to be successful.

3. Who is the next Calvin Johnson or Philip Rivers in this year's crop of ACC recruits?

I assume this means we're looking at skill players for this question, since Johnson and Rivers imply not only awesomeness as a player but high-profile awesomeness, so the answer: Parks, obviously. Anyone else got any Parade All-American skill players coming? No, you don't.

The pickings are actually kind of slim in the ACC when it comes to skill players this year. But also, I think, watch out for De'Joshua Johnson at FSU and Eduardo Clements at Miami. Both had a long list of big-time offers and Clements also has, for whatever reason, a name that just rings like a star at Miami.

4. Have any recent coaching changes affected your team's recruiting class (eg Kiffin to USC)?

Er, besides our own?

We've only pilfered one recruit from another school that had a coaching change (Mike Rocco decommitted from Louisville just this week) and that had way more to do with our own coaching change than Louisville's.

5. Who do you all think have assembled the strongest recruiting class, taking into account not just rankings but the needs each one has filled?

I honestly have no desire to go team-by-team and figure out what they all needed. Let me put it this way: most everyone has gem or two and at least half the teams have a fairly strong class up top. Only one team can really claim to have players from top to bottom that were coveted by a lot of other good teams: Florida State. Even the players on the bottom of their list (star-wise) had a strong set of offers from other good programs.

6. How do you all see ACC schools competing with schools in the SEC and Big 12 for recruits?

Badly in general, but I don't really care: UVA doesn't really go head-to-head with the SEC and Big 12. If you guys further south lose all your battles with the Auburns and Floridas of the world, so much the better for us. Just about the only SEC school whose recruiting footprint overlaps much with ours and that we go head-to-head with every year is South Carolina, and we regularly win those battles. It's the Big East and Big Ten we worry about.


Winfield Featherston said...

Al Groh has helped us nicely Brendan. Thank you sir!

JM MEDIA said...

Al Groh is a wonderful man.

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