Tuesday, July 5, 2011

recruiting board update, and big-picture too

With 13 prospects in the fold for Mike London, the recruiting class of 2012 is more than half-filled no matter how you slice it.  I think it's time for a look at the big picture for the next seven months of recruiting-trail madness.  A few themes have emerged in the class so far:

- It's all about defense.  The first four commitments, and six of the first seven, were players headed for the defensive side of the ball.  And most of the best prospects left on the board that UVA is chasing - Eli Harold, Kaiwan Lewis, Nigel Williams, Courtnye Wynn, Trey Edmunds, and so on - are also defenders.

- Out-of-state recruiting is back.  Last year, London only signed three recruits from outside the VA/DC/MD home base, and one of those (Adrian Gamble) had given his verbal to Al Groh, not Mike London.  This year, six of thirteen are from outside VA/MD - two from Pennsylvania, one each from New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Ontario (though Ryan Doull, the Canajin, will be headed to Fork Union this fall.)  London has sent out offers as well to prospects in Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, Ohio, and North Carolina, with mixed results.  This is partly because states like NJ and PA are still UVA's recruiting wheelhouse and partly because it's a thin year in the state of Virginia.  Players like Rob Burns and Daquan Romero, ranked at the bottom end of the state's top 20 last year, would be closer to 12th or 13th this year.

- Less star power.  This isn't likely to end up as a top-25 class like last year.  I know, I know, Jennings and Terrell weren't even possibilities at this point last year etc. etc.  Actually, "less star power" is a little misleading because we've got Kwontie Moore and Mike Moore, and Eli Harold on the way, and are at least in the discussion for guys like Canaan Severin, Kaiwan Lewis, and maybe a few others.  What this class is short on is meat-and-potatoes guys who aren't big-time four and five stars - guys like Vincent Croce or Jay Whitimre, to name some examples from last year.  Still, UVA recruiting has, for the last decade, been good to great in the odd years and way down in the even years; the class of 2012 has a chance to be as good as some of the lesser odd years and is already way better than any of the recent even years.


Where we're done:

- Offensive line: Four commitments in the fold, which is what I predicted back in February when I wrote the first big-picture look.  It's not out of the question we take one more, but that would have to be a really good, top-notch player like Adam Bisnowaty.  Chances are we're done here.  This group has no big names with long offer lists, but it's a solid bunch that you can build on and derive real depth from.

- Quarterback: I was a little surprised to see UVA see through the hunt for a quarterback, what with having so many as sophomores and freshmen, but there's a school of thought that says you take one every year.  It's not wrong.  It's not a rigid, unbreakable tenet of recruiting, but it's not wrong.  Having gotten one now, though, I'd be damn near shocked if the staff took another.

Work in progress:

- Defensive line: Three players are lined up already, and we might very well take three more.  And there will be some amazing depth here.

- Linebacker: See "defensive line," and replace "three" with "two."  Or don't, because we can't say with 100% certainty that someone like Demeitre Brim won't be a linebacker, and there are plenty left on the board, several of which we wouldn't turn down even if we'd already reached the target number.

- Secondary: Still a trouble spot in my book.  Two commits so far, but the secondary is hard to pin down because a lot of players are ostensibly "athletes" and only projected to the secondary.  I wish the staff were more aggressive in going after potential defensive backs.

- Wide receiver: One in so far, but lots left on the board.  You can bet the staff is working hard on both Anthony Cooper and Canaan Severin, among several others, and would gladly take both.  Or more.

Lots of work to do:

- Running back: Thin position on the roster, and none yet in the class.  Both Kye Morgan and Chris Mangus would be brought in in a heartbeat, and the staff continues to send out offers.  Still waiting for our first commitment at a position where we need two.

- Tight end: If we don't get a tight end and find ourselves in need of one, other positions could be cannibalized to fill the spot, as with Jeremiah Mathis.  But I think the staff will continue to hunt for at least a developmental depth guy.

- Punter: I still expect to sign one up, maybe even a scholarship guy.  This is Jimmy Howell's last season.


So, all that said, now we get to the recruiting board part of it, with updates:

- Moved OT Sean Karl and OG Andre Miles-Redmond from green to orange.  As I mentioned, that about seals up offensive line recruiting.  This in turn causes the next two moves....

- Moved OT Adam Bisnowaty and OL Greg Pyke from green to yellow.

- Removed OT Jon Heck from blue.  I wonder if his commitment to UNC is related to UVA's picking up Karl and Miles-Redmond.  Not being sarcastic.  I actually do wonder.

- Removed WR Eugene Lewis and ATH Davon Jacobs from yellow.  Jacobs committed to Rutgers and Lewis has a top five sans UVA.

Tomorrow: Part 2 of the baseball recruiting adventure.  Then, to finish off the week, a double dip into football recruiting profiles with the Norfolk Christian pair.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of grabbing a QB each year. At some point, it'd be nice to see us grab an impact QB prospect, a guy that may get other folks to commit. That said, with so many youngsters at QB in the system, and a weak VA class, the chances didn't seem high this year, and Johns looks like an intriguing developmental kid. Wouldn't surprise me if the loser of Metheny/Rocco (sure feels like Rocco is in the lead) or Strauss transfers next year, setting up a 4 deep of Rocco (Jr.), Strauss or Metheny, Watford (R.Fr), and Johns (likely redshirt). 2013 sure feels like the year to try and land that impact QB recruit to build a class around, as the kid could conceivably start for four years (if Rocco starts as a Sr. and the kid is redshirted).

The lack of offensive skill guys is troubling. Granted, there were a couple kids last year, but for us to improve, we need to consistently get some skill guys in. The RB situation next year is somewhat troubling, although maybe Milien can fill that big back role. Granted, this class has little to do with this upcoming season, and Richardson could be the future there, but it'd be nice to get a bigger body in there to complement Richardson/Park/Sheperd in the future.

I had hoped to see a big-time OL recruit. We can't rule out the chance that Morgan Moses could go pro after this season, as he'll be a sophomore eligible kid. That said, you play with the hand you are dealt, and outside of Bisnowaty, that's it.

The defensive end /linebacker depth chart should look really good for a few years. DT, on the other hand, could really use an impact body, and an impact body that is a bit bigger. With the way Reid's defense plays, we need a bit more size inside to control the run.

It's a solid class to follow up last year's, and depending on how things finish, it wouldn't stun me if we snuck into the top 25 of a list. Considering this was a big rebuild job, London is setting the stage for the future quite well with these solid classes, but here's hoping he can land some more impact talent in the future.