Friday, August 19, 2011

the recruit: Michael Mooney

Name: Michael Mooney
Position: OG
Hometown: Malvern(?), PA
School: Malvern Prep
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 265

24/7: no rating; PA #35
ESPN: 78; three stars; #67 OT
Rivals: 5.5; three stars; PA #26
Scout: three stars; #53 OG

Other offers: Syracuse, Purdue, Northwestern, East Carolina, Duke, Tulane, Buffalo

When you enter "michael mooney" into the Yahoo search engine, the first suggested search is "michael mooney motorcycle accident."  So that's unsettling.  Turns out people named Mike Mooney are apparently susceptible to either dying in motorcycle wrecks or being the responding police officer at one.  There's your funny googlewebbing tip of the day.

The Michael Mooney that concerns us is part of an offensive line class that has little star power but a great deal of playable depth.  Mooney fits right in as a guy whose lower-level-BCS offers match his more or less lower-level-BCS guru ratings.  Clearly an excellent student, as offers from Northwestern, Duke, and Tulane indicate; Syracuse and Purdue were probably his best football offers, and Mooney was slowly but surely working his way toward offers from Boston College and Georgia Tech.  (The dreaded "interest from" term applies here, and the latter two had in fact not offered by the time Mooney committed to UVA, but it's fair to say they legitimately might have in the future.)  And even though the Florida State game last year with the advertised whiteout wasn't well-received from all corners, it appears to have borne fruit anyway.  Mooney took a comparison visit to Northwestern before committing to UVA, and actually liked it quite a bit, but not enough for the Wildcats' sake.

Lacrosse fans might recognize Malvern Prep as one of the more important places in the recruiting mini-hotbed of suburban Philly; it's where freshman (now sophomore) midfielder Bobby Hill hails from.  So you might expect a biggish athletic guy like Mooney to play lacrosse, and you'd be right; he's a defender.  This is in good keeping with Mike London's desire for increased athleticism on the line - many of his O-line recruits are two-sport standouts - and defense is the place for a guy with Mooney's reputed aggressiveness.

Speaking of which, highlight tapes.  I usually watch them and habitually ignore them for these writeups because they're highlights, and if you get really excited about a highlight tape, that's why they're put together.  I say they're basically useless for evaluating quality unless it's a guy like Morgan Moses who operated on another plane of existence.  I think Mooney's offered one point: whenever he blocked anyone on the second level, he trucked the poor fellow into oblivion.  Probably not every time.  Again: highlights, not lowlights.  But there was a marked contrast between that and when he blocked a guy right in front, in which point he mostly was just getting in the way effectively.  And very few pass-blocking highlights; it seems his strength for now is run-blocking.

So he's a guy with a nasty streak, probably a better run-blocker, and 6'5".  24/7 says he "could be versatile enough to play anywhere on the offensive line if need be," and ESPN evaluates him as a tackle; if so, though, he'd be the shortest tackle on the team, all of whom are 6'6" or 6'7".  So I think Mooney ultimately slots as a guard; possibly center, likely guard.

That being the case, 265 pounds is kinda puny (and one article drops him down all the way to 255 though that's probably outdated.)  If Mooney can pack on 10 pounds and come in at 275, it's a start; guards need 285, minimum.  So it's redshirt city for Mooney, though that should come as no surprise whatsoever since ninety-five out of a hundred incoming O-linemen do.  It may be some years before Mooney starts to make a dent in the two-deep, and it depends on the competition since most of this O-line class projects to guard.  If Mooney turns out to be the best of the bunch, expect him to crack the two-deep as a redshirt sophomore in his third season; Luke Bowanko looks as if he'll hold down a starting spot for a while, and there's good depth being developed in Jay Whitmire and the newly-shifted Conner Davis.  Because of his light weight I don't expect Mooney to jump ahead of the conveyor belt, but that conveyor belt started to break down in Groh's final years so it's great for the program to be developing linemen that way again. 


We need a quick recruiting board update, so here goes.  It's kind of minimal but that's to be expected as the coaches focus on practice and not recruiting, and the brakes are being applied anyway since we're now in a position to be choosy.

- Moved WR Canaan Severin from green to blue.  Kind of a post-visit bump, as should happen after a visit.

- Added OT Kyle Fuller to green.  Fuller professes a top four, which ordinarily would put him in the blue, but space is limited so it's as much about our end as his.  This is also why Mike Tyson is in green.

- Removed DT Eddie Goldman and WRs Romond Deloatch and Drakar Harvell from red.  This probably means that one of those two receivers will commit in November, but, hell, the numbers game, you know.  Goldman eliminated UVA.

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