Hometown: Virginia Beach
School: Ocean Lakes
24/7: 87; three stars; #25 pro-style QB; VA #19
ESPN: 82; four stars; #19 pro-style QB; VA #14; Atlantic #40
Rivals: 5.7; three stars; #25 pro-style QB; VA #22
Scout: three stars; #54 QB
Other offers: Connecticut, East Carolina, Marshall
I officially give up when it comes to guessing how many quarterbacks Mike London wants in any given class. Just when it looks absolutely ripe to take one and only one, and Brendan Marshall is in the fold, another one comes down the pipe. Fortunately, there's a plethora of quality nicknames coming out of the Tidewater area lately (Turtle, Big Cat, Smoke) and we seem to be in on that action pretty strongly.
Still - too many quarterbacks? Actually, London just might know what he's doing in this case. Corwin Cutler got offers from not a whole lot of places, and it didn't take him long to follow through with a commitment to the UVA one. Shortly after his commitment, though, ESPN gave a knowing nod in London's direction and said: well played, indeed. Their scouting report begins thusly: "This is a prospect that for whatever reason has flown under the radar throughout the process, but we believe Cutler is going to start seeing a lot more attention after the spring evaluation period. ... This guy should have a lot more offers."
ESPN is known for being more than occasionally divergent from the consensus opinion on a recruit, but that's an unusually blunt assessment. They were confident enough in Cutler's abilities to rate him our best commitment until this Tuesday, when Taquan Mizzell jumped on board - above bonafide players like Tim Harris, Kirk Garner, and Micah Kiser. And they might be onto something: Rivals' latest re-rank bumped Cutler upwards to high-three-star level, and 24/7's assessment of Cutler's performance at the New Level Athletics 7-on-7 tournament in New York, two months ago, was consistently higher than that of Mizzell. High praise, given Smoke's own ratings.
This makes the upcoming high school season an interesting one. Cutler definitely hit up the camp scene - his dad is involved in that in his own way, more on that in a bit. He plays in the high-visibility 757, and Ocean Lakes was among the top teams in the district last year. Even a middling three-star quarterback ought to have had offers, and now that the services have got a load of Turtle over the summer, they certainly like him better than "middling three star." (Except Scout, which is so damn lazy and useless that they're listing Tech commit Parker Osterloh under our section. Their lack of enthusiasm can be easily dismissed.) Possibly all the quarterback attention in Virginia was being given to the "big three" of Hackenberg, Hodges, and Burns. Regardless, now that Cutler's a UVA commit, folks will be watching this season, myself included. And I'm very interested to see if Cutler will live up to the rankings.
Cutler could prove to be one of UVA's most important recruits in a while, though, and not just for what happens on the field. All that rubbish from Hokies fans about a shadowy "Godfather" that steers players to UVA, and the supposed shadiness of the 757 Sports Academy (where Hampton Roads players train in the summer) really got the goat of a certain Carson Cutler - Corwin's father and a coach at the academy. How can I put this delicately.... Carson was really, really pissed about that shit. The PG version of his feelings was: "The rumors going around about being an AAU team and coaches being street agents are ridiculous and very unfortunate." The not-so-PG version, as posted on the Wahoos247 board:
I feel its absolutely disgusting how people are taking shots at men they don't even know. ... I followed VT football because of past relationship[s] I had with past and present players. I used to have a lot of respect for what they have done with talent have gotten over the years but now I have lost all of respect for them and their fans .... Now you can take my words and twist it all you want to, I can and will be a HUGE supporter of Coach Mike London and his staff because of the man that he is and the word that he keeps with the parents and players, the only thing he promised me is that my son will get his degree. So all [you] ignorant ASS S.O.B that have been calling him "BLACK SANTA" (giving gifts to us funding our trips etc) is fucking crazzzy but you showed your true colors!!!!! And its not BLACK OR WHITE thing, it's just your arrogance in thinking that every kid should go to VT....
It goes on in that vein. I did a little cleaning up for readability but that's basically the direct quote from the elder Cutler. UVA's recruitment of the younger Cutler is the kind of thing that's giving Mike London powerful allies in the best recruiting grounds in the state, and the way Hokie fans react to it doesn't help the cause in Blacksburg. Pissing off a group of people who see it as their mission to help football players find exposure for themselves, and ultimately, find homes in college somewhere, is How Not To Recruit 101, and the best part is, it's not like the VT coaches have much control over it.
Anyway. The part where we discuss the future. Turtle, obviously, finds a crowded depth chart. London has all but declared Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns will redshirt, which means that the QB pipeline is being established and Cutler and Marshall will certainly get the same treatment. Cutler won't play in 2014 either; Phillip Sims and David Watford will be seniors. That sets up a battle in 2015, when Cutler is a redshirt sophomore and Lambert and Johns are redshirt juniors. If the services are right about Cutler, he'll fend off Marshall, but it'll still be a major fight. There's sure to be some twists between now and then, but it's still very likely to be several years before Turtle is truly on the radar for the starting job. I don't pretend to know just what'll happen in a QB competition three months from now, let alone three years, but if Cutler is going to be the starting QB at UVA eventually, the window for that is 2015 to 2017 - the depth chart ahead of him may work out such that it's his fifth year before the job is truly his.
-- You know we finally got Smoke Mizzell, right? You heard about that already. I don't need to repeat incessantly that Mizzell committed to UVA this week. Mizzell's commitment to UVA, in which he committed to UVA, was the first five-star commitment for the Hoos since Eugene Monroe. Mizzell's commitment to UVA is bound to be a recruiting chip for the future as well, so I'm really glad Taquan Mizzell committed to UVA.
-- London and the coaches were surprisingly open about the depth chart this week - it was like bizzarro week in that respect, and certainly nice to hear something beyond the usual denials of ever even having heard of a "depth chart." London promised the official real preseason depth chart would be out Monday, which got a lot of people assuming we'll know who the starting quarterback is. Well, I'm pretty sure it'll be Rocco, but I still also think the Monday depth chart is gonna have a lot of "OR" in the QB section.
-- Besides that, some position changes were discussed: DE to TE for Rob Burns, WR to DB for Anthony Cooper, FB to DE for Trent Corney. When that happens, if a true freshman is involved, it's code for "this guy's redshirting" although Corney could be a special teams guy. Corney's getting something of an annoying legend built up around him, which Jeff White fed yesterday - annoying because this is the same kind of thing that happened with Keith Payne, who UVA fans were, in hindsight, wildly overrating and heaping just stupid expectations on. That, and you just know that some of the folks who want to see him "blowing people up" this year are gonna be some of the same moaning about redshirting in a few years. Truth is, he's just raw as all hell and probably needs that redshirt year.