Friday, July 9, 2010

the recruit: Ross Burbank

Do you realize that in less than a month it'll be time to start churning out football season previews? Aiyyy. How crazy. With that in mind, if recruit profiles don't start getting done now they'll never get done, so I'll be ramping this up. I forgot that last year, by this time we had just gotten our fifth, sixth, and seventh commitments, and now we have 18 or 19.

Name: Ross Burbank
Position: OT
Hometown: Virginia Beach
School: Cox
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 285

ESPN: 76; three stars; #68 OT
Rivals: 5.5; three stars; VA #26
Scout: two stars

Other offers: ODU

I'm not a big believer in recruiting "momentum," except when the class starts to fill up and the coaches are telling kids it's now or never. I figure the momentum thing is for the fans to feel good about having something to feel good about in the offseason, especially after you went 3-9. This might be the year that puts a serious crimp in my skepticism. Mike London has racked up almost 20 commitments, and mostly they've come in big waves of three or more at a time.

Ross Burbank kicked off the first wave, back in April. Early in the month the class consisted of two guys who'd committed to Al Groh and two who committed at a junior day, and was it. Two weeks later the class had doubled in size. Burbank's recruitment itself wasn't even a story at all; his verbal came within a week of his offer, which was his first to the I-A ranks. Thusly, not a great deal about him was known by UVA fans.

The ratings, when they came out, turned out to be pretty consistent with his achievements as a second-team all-Beach guy and all-combine performer at the Best of the 757. (Not really the "best" - most of the actual best didn't show. Still.) In other words, solid and unspectacular.

Burbank has the size already; I say 285 up there because he's a big-time wrestler and had to be under that number or else, but with wrestling season over it's likely he's already above it. Nearly every scouting report on him says he's got work to do and needs a redshirt year, but a redshirt year is pretty much a gimme for all but the most spectacular OL prospects anyways.

As with the majority of lineman prospects, Burbank plays on both sides of the ball. DT, of course, with his size, and on offense, right tackle. That he plays right tackle instead of left is a function of his school's offense (heavy on the run) and suggests that his fastest learning curve in college will be one that doesn't include left tackle at all; that the offense gives him more experience as a run-blocker than a pass-blocker suggests an eventual move to guard. With linemen, they were almost always a tackle in high school, so it's tough to guess where they end up, but I'd lean toward slotting Burbank as a future guard.

Anyway, O-line recruiting is always about building depth, and that's what we have in Burbank. Burbank's pedigree is good, but doesn't stand out in the crowd among linemen in general. Standard O-line path to stardom here: disappear into redshirtland first year, followed by a methodical climb up the depth chart to settle in by junior year as a starter or backup, depending on how he develops. Guard may provide a little bit of a fast track; most linemen are converts to the position, so if he's a quick learner it'll provide a leg up, and with Morgan Moses and Oday Aboushi onboard our long-term solutions at tackle are younger than our starting guards and there'll be spots open on the interior before at tackle.

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