Friday, August 12, 2011

the recruit: Matt Johns

Name: Matt Johns
Position: QB
Hometown: Warrington, PA
School: Central Bucks South
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 200

24/7: 85, three stars
ESPN: 75, three stars, #72 QB
Rivals: 5.5, three stars, PA #33
Scout: three stars, #56 QB

Other offers: none

Like Maurice Canady, Matt Johns was a camp commit, who came to camp without an offer, earned one, and committed then and there.  Actually, Johns committed a couple hours before Canady did, but it turns out it's a good thing I wrote up Canady first because Greyson Lambert committed after that.  I'd have had to chuck the whole write up and start over.

When Johns committed, I and probably 95% of the fanbase assumed UVA was done hunting down quarterbacks.  This wasn't the only report that said as much.  With Lambert aboard, the prospects for Johns as a starter got way more uphill.  Johns is reminiscent of Marc Verica, and not just because they're both from Pennsylvania: tall and NFL-sized, mobile within the pocket, accurate enough if not always to the same color jersey.  And, unfortunately for both, lightly recruited.  Johns would almost certainly have earned a couple other offers had he hit the camp circuit in full stride, but UVA's was the one he was focused on, and he shut it down after that.  The kind of quarterback that a lot of teams want but it's not like they can't live without, either.

Johns's best trait appears to be his downfield throwing ability, which might actually contrast him nicely with Lambert, something he'll need if he's going to be ever in the running for a starting job.  (Lambert, as described by ESPN's scouting report, is a great touch passer with good rhythm whose arm strength is less than ideal.  Which is funny because Scout lists him with arm strength as a positive, but that's a talk for another day.)  Johns, on the other hand, doesn't blow you away with completion percentage and wotnot (53.2% as a junior with 16 TDs and 10 picks, and exactly 50% for his high school career), but, according to ESPN:
Where Johns is most impressive is with the deep ball. He shows both zip and touch to lay the ball over-the-top of coverage with enough power to stretch the field vertically if on time. Shows good ball placement, throws a catchable pass and shows he can make throws outside of the numbers from the opposite hash.
So he comes in with that in his pocket, and an average of 15 yards per completion, his junior year number, would back up that assessment.

Still, the depth chart is forbidding, even if the transfer that I predict comes to pass.  The best-case scenario is really one where Rocco, Metheny, or Strauss performs well enough in the job that the competition doesn't have to be reopened next year,  The odds of that are probably 50/50 at best.  In the long run it would be nice to establish a line of succession, but we can't all be USC where the next five-star guy patiently waits his turn until his redshirt junior year and then brings another Heisman back to the school.

In our case, the QB picture for this year - let alone the next four - is clear as mud that's been pooped in.  Despite the fact that Johns clearly got recruited over, I'd only set myself up to look a fool if I declared his future to be five years of being a clipboard stand.  For one thing, how many ACC teams started the same quarterback in every game of last season?  (Answer: Five at most.)  Even if there's always someone ahead of him on the depth chart, I think the worst-case individual scenario is that Johns provides a great insurance policy.  You could do a lot worse than to have a strong-armed guy like Matt Johns as your backup.  Believe me.  We have.  And if he is the second-string guy, then we've probably done pretty well for ourselves at quarterback.  I think it's a little bit of a bum deal for Johns to have Lambert in the class, too, but it's great for the program to have the competition.  The QB duels in the coming years are going to be a little bit of a cage match.  Because of the aforementioned depth chart mountain, we won't see much of Johns until probably his third year in the program, but by then, Rocco and Metheny will almost definitely have graduated (or otherwise left the program) and that's when Johns's role will start to clear up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you know what Lambert somewhat reminds me of ... Matt Schaub. Both guys with good, but not elite, arm strength, but smart, accurate passers. Well, here's hoping at least.