Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the recruit: Andre Levrone

Name: Andre Levrone
Position: WR
Hometown: ???, MD
School: Good Counsel
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 195

24/7: 86; three stars; #94 WR; MD #20
Rivals: 5.7; three stars; #56 WR; MD #10
Scout: three stars; #48 WR

Other offers: USC, Auburn, Mississippi State

The way Good Counsel churns out talent every year, it's amazing Andre Levrone got a sniff from anyone at all this spring.  See, Levrone platooned as Good Counsel's third receiver last year, which meant playing behind Stefon Diggs and Kendall Fuller the whole year, and when you do that you rack up gaudy stats like one catch for eleven yards.  All season long.

So his offer list is weird for a reason.  It doesn't include standard schools like Penn State because they wanted to see him actually catch a football, and it doesn't include Maryland because well who the hell knows what Maryland is thinking these days, as they're doing a fantastic job of screwing up DC-area recruiting.  The offer list didn't matter much to Levrone, anyway.  He showed some interest in schools like Clemson that were recruiting him but holding back on an offer, but he showed a lot more interest in UVA.  It wasn't hard to guess where he would eventually commit, because for like a solid month (at least) before he committed in April, his Twitter background was Cavman on his horse.

So with basically zero on-field experience, how do we know what we've got?  Fortunately, Levrone hit up a few camps.  (I mean, he probably would've never had any early offers otherwise.)  Scouts always mention Levrone's size; the takeaway from the Rivals/VTO tour had Levrone as the 16th-best receiver of the nine camps they ran, and the two-second scouting report said: "Levrone is a big receiver who runs well and is difficult to handle physically because he's so strong, thick and physical."  His high school coach also calls him a "big, physical guy," and as he's pushing 200 pounds he'd already be in the upper echelon of size, were he to be placed on the roster today.

Levrone also got praise for his route-running at VTO ("showed good footwork in drills and rarely rounded a route and he's a big target for quarterbacks," - and there's that "big" thing again.)  The downside: "He struggled with a couple of drops on the day or he'd be higher on this list," which is to suggest he'd likely have beaten out DaeSean Hamilton in the evaluation, whom UVA is still one of many schools chasing.  The dropsies showed up again at a summer passing league tournament Levrone attended with his Good Counsel teammates; his coach didn't single anyone out when talking about dropped ball because that would've been a shitty thing to do (obviously) but Levrone is the #2 receiver now, so you can read between some lines there.

Levrone also gets kind of damned with faint praise for his speed, and it sounds like his wheels and athleticism are good but not great.  24/7 lists his 40 time as 4.57 and ESPN says it's 4.99, which is an absurd gap and one of many reasons I call most 40 times baloney.  I'm sure it's closer to the 4.57, but the point is he will probably move well enough to be a good college player but it's not like he'll be sprinting past cornerbacks.

And still, there's that size, which among everything else was enough to attract the attention of the USC Trojans, 3,000 miles away - almost a month after Levrone had already committed to UVA.  No doubt they offered at least partly with the notion that little ol' pffft Virginia isn't really the kind of school that can hold onto its commitments when big bad USC comes calling, but it was a legit offer had Levrone wanted to take them up on it.  Fortunately for us, he didn't, and the Trojans' offer ended up serving only as basic confirmation that we have a great shot here at digging up the proverbial sleeper.  (You can't be a "diamond in the rough" at a factory like Good Counsel.)

The recruiting services are pretty unanimous in giving Levrone a three-star rating of the mid-to-high sort, which is to say that they all basically saw the same thing at the camps he went to.  I doubt any of them would've given him four stars based on some camps and one catch for eleven yards; this is why Levrone is one of the two prospects I'm most interested in seeing on the field during his senior year.  (The other is Corwin Cutler, who has a chance to turn the big 3 quarterbacks in the state into a big 4.)  A big year catching passes from fellow UVA commit Brendan Marshall would be a lot of fun to see.

When he does get to UVA, Levrone will see a really crowded depth chart.  With six incoming freshman receivers this year, it's anyone's guess from that list who'll redshirt.  Levrone surely projects as a possession receiver and red zone target in the mold of a somewhat shorter Matt Snyder; on the team right now you've got guys like Miles Gooch and freshmen Canaan Severin and Mario Nixon who fit a similar template.  And none of them have seen any field time.  As I'm sure you know I usually like to make an educated guess about whether a player will redshirt and how soon he'll see the field, but there'd be nothing educated about this: the subject has basically never played, his most likely closest competition has also never played, and so I throw my hands in the air in defeat on this one.  We'll just go with the default answer, which is "he'll redshirt" which seems safe given how many players are in the classes in front of him; check back in five months and we'll have ourselves a much better picture.

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