Thursday, December 8, 2011

the recruit: Greyson Lambert

Name: Greyson Lambert
Position: QB
Hometown: Jesup, GA
School: Wayne County
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 208

24/7: 91; four stars; #9 pro-style QB; GA #25
ESPN: 78; three stars; #38 QB; GA #53; Southeast #224
Rivals: 5.7; three stars; #23 QB; GA #28
Scout: four stars; #8 QB

Other offers: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Clemson, Miami, NC State, Purdue, Boston College, Mississippi State, Louisville

Admit it: You figured we were shutting down QB recruiting after we got one early.  You figured that even without Matt Johns, we probably didn't have a real shot at Greyson Lambert because he had all those offers from way-southern schools, and he's a way-southern kid, and guys with attention from Alabama and Georgia don't pick Virginia.  We all figured that.

With Lambert in the fold, and likely to enroll at UVA in January as well, a common phrase during the early part of the season was, "The quarterback of 2012 isn't on Grounds yet."  Sometimes that was a comment on the state of quarterback play from the current crop, but (and I say this meaning as little disrespect as possible to Matt Johns) when people said that, they didn't have Matt Johns in mind.

The thing about Alabama offers is that you have to parse them out.  Michael Strauss was listed with an Alabama offer, but it wasn't one really.  Neither was Lambert's at first.  Alabama likes to give out placeholder offers, and Alabama had a couple other, higher-priority choices.  (They're Alabama and they think even more highly of themselves than that, so instead of recruiting a bunch of kids hoping they'll get one, they line up priorities and target them one by one.  At least at quarterback.)  Gunner Kiel was one, but once Kiel committed to Indiana (he has since decommitted) Lambert was squarely in Nick Saban's crosshairs.  It's a testament to Mike London's recruiting chops that Lambert can be legitimately said to have picked Virginia over Alabama, and mind you UGA as well.

It was a video that did it, by the way.  London wasn't there when Lambert visited, so he recorded a Dear Greyson video, which Lambert was duly impressed with.  This is the difference between London and a regular coach.  Remember that Eli Harold was considering Florida before his UVA commitment; I don't recall whether or not Harold ever actually made it to Gainesville for a visit, but I do recall that he had to reschedule one when he learned that Will Muschamp wasn't gonna be in town.  Most coaches reschedule visits.  London decided to roll differently.  That's our boy.

For a guy whose visibility is no problem, the scouting services are awfully rangy on Lambert.  Scout thinks he's the #8 quarterback in the country.  Not just pro-style; overall.  ESPN gives him an awfully middling review.  To Scout, technique is a minus and arm strength is a plus:

"....his arm strength speaks for itself. His arm and size are his biggest strengths, but he really needs to work on his footwork and mobility."

ESPN's review is the bizarro-Scout:

"....consistent, quick feet.....a good enough athlete to move around and buy time for a second passing chance. ...  However, the question with Lambert is does he have a great arm? He lacks great power, zip and ability to drive the ball vertically and into tight spots in our opinion for the next level."

So that's certainly confusing.  Lambert's highlights are too choppy and blurry to see for oneself.  He definitely has the size, though; at 6'5" and probably pushing 210, maybe 215 by the time next season starts, he's already got prototypical NFL size and projectability in that department.  With that size it's little wonder that the scouting reports do consistently suggest good field vision and good skills at reading a defense.  Between Scout (rocket-armed granite statue) and ESPN (semi-mobile technique artist) are the two rankings that are probably closer to reality.

Because let's be honest, expectations are almost always a bad thing when it comes to quarterbacks.  Everyone is always enamored of the idea of the true freshman who can step in immediately and set every school passing record in four years.  Mostly that's an unattainable ideal.  The last quarterback to come in with Greyson Lambert's pedigree was Peter Lalich, and he was ready for neither the on-field nor off-field demands of the job when it was handed to him.  What you really want is a nice, steady parade of quarterbacks who are game-ready when it's their turn, and give you little to no dropoff from one to the next.

Fortunately for both the present and the future, Mike Rocco put a lot of that "2012 QB isn't here yet" talk to rest this year.  Rocco has his weaknesses, but he's a sophomore for crying out loud.  If he has to defend his job in spring camp it'll be an injustice and a half.  And that's great news for our quarterback progression.  If Lambert had to jump in with both feet and be The Man from 2012 on out, I think 2012 would be awfully rough.  Lambert is good, but not, like, otherworldly.  And QBs can be ruined if they're handed the job too early.  Both incoming quarterbacks can be safely redshirted in 2012, and also watch from the sidelines during 2013.  And then, as redshirt sophomores in 2014, it's game on.  (The wild card being - how will David Watford develop?  And what happens in 2013 recruiting?)  Matt Johns put up some really gaudy numbers this year and won't give up the QB competition without a fight, but I suspect by 2014 the coaches will have a pretty good idea of who they want to succeed Rocco.  Right now I'd put the best odds on Lambert.


Anonymous said...

The inconsistency with the recruiting services is so strange. I don't think I've seen blaring differences across the services like that ever. I hope Lambert has a rocket of an arm because this year we have some pretty great receivers that are going to really stretch the field. If Lambert takes over in 2014 and works out the difficulties of adjusting to the starting role early in the season, I see us as a potentially potent offense. All this would be balanced by an explosive running game with Kevin Parks and Clifton Richardson. Wow. Sign me up for this.

Anonymous said...

Have you found a quality Auburn blog? The one's I've come across have been downright atrocious

Brendan said...

There aren't many. I just default to the SB Nation one when I want to find something out. I don't know if it's awesome or not, but it's there. I seem to recall them being much higher on UVA much sooner in the Blogpoll than most others. Including myself.

Anonymous said...

What's the news on Metheny for next year? Curious because if he's gone, then one of the frosh is the third QB.

As for QB progression/future, well, I hope we land one of the big time 2013 in-state QB's, if only because it may help spur in-state recruiting. If we land one of them, it wouldn't surprise me if the sales pitch to them is that they'd redshirt in Rocco's senior year, and then be given a chance to challenge Lambert/Johns/Watford for the job in 2014.

I like what I've seen of clips of Johns, though. May be more interesting than that rating.

Brendan said...

I don't think there's any danger of Metheny going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

that's a positive. is he a "let me graduate from UVA first" kid and then perhaps transfer to a lower level to play a year of football? He has enough tools to be a collegiate QB.

From a UVA football perspective, that allows us to redshirt both Johns and Lambert, and that's a good thing.