Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the recruit: Thompson Brown

Name: Thompson Brown
Position: DE
Hometown: Richmond
School: St. Christopher's
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 221

ESPN: 77; three stars; #65 DE
Rivals: 5.5; three stars; VA #23
Scout: three stars; #98 DE

Other offers: Boston College, Maryland, Duke, Ohio

Thompson Brown wasn't even on the recruiting board. There's a reason for this: he didn't have a UVA offer, and it took him maybe five minutes between getting it and committing. Brown committed at a time when D-line spots were thought to be just about full and the whole fanbase was on Rob Burns commitment watch. Brown came in out of nowhere, shortly after Brandon Phelps, and his commitment probably had something to do with Burns being the very next shoe to drop. Whoops, the bus is getting full and I don't know when the next one comes around; better get in before the doors close.

The reason for Brown's lightning-quick reflexes upon receiving the offer is simply that he's a UVA fan from way back. So that's good. Brown plays on the private-school circuit where the competition isn't great (and the injury-riddled junior season didn't help); he didn't have much but some I-AA offers until it came time to camp. Then he picked one up at every camp he went to: BC, Maryland, UVA.

No health problems this year, though. Brown is a two-way player: DE on the defense, and RB and a little TE on offense. He's been remarkably productive all season, with a knack for getting to the ball on defense whether it's in the hands of a ballcarrier or turned loose for the taking. And when in need of touchdowns, St. Chris's usually turns to him there, too. It's not unusual to see Brown get a turnover and a touchdown in the same game, as he did against fellow verbal Darius Lee's St. S/St. A squad.

Brown joins a very deep 2011 DE class that could get even deeper if UVA takes a commitment from Horace Arkadie. The likelihood of all four or five of them sticking at DE is slim; you've got to have some flexibility, and Brown could be among the more flexible players. Marco Jones is a big guy and isn't going anywhere unless he goes inside to DT; Rob Burns is freakishly tall, probably too much so to be a blocker.

Additionally, there isn't much playing time available for defensive ends at the moment. There's a need for depth, but not at the higher levels of the depth chart, as Cam Johnson and Zane Parr are both juniors and there are some capable-looking players behind them in Jake Snyder and Jeremiah Mathis (who I fully expect to see back at DE next year.) Mathis is a bit of a wild card though - it's not crazy to think the coaches might leave him at TE. This is what I mean by a need for flexibility. And Thompson Brown appears to be one of the more flexible players in the class, so his redshirt year will probably be spent seeing what kind of attrition we have and who fits where ahead of him. He'll likely start out working at DE, but I'm not willing to bet on where he'll be two years later. Brown's productivity in high school suggests he'll be a contributor somewhere, maybe a big one. But I think the - ahem - circumstances of the roster ahead of him will ultimately determine where.

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