Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the recruit: Micah Kiser

Name: Micah Kiser
Position: LB
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
School: Gilman
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 215

24/7: 90; four stars; #22 OLB; MD #8
ESPN: 82; four stars; #20 OLB; MD #6; Atlantic #42
Rivals: 5.7; three stars; #20 ILB; MD #13
Scout: three stars; #61 OLB

Other offers: Florida, Oklahoma, Stanford, Penn State, Virginia Tech, NC State, Boston College, West Virginia, Purdue, Rutgers, Maryland, Wake Forest

With three linebackers, including two starters, graduating after this year, it's an important year for recruiting the position.  So it was a big deal when UVA kicked off the linebacker acquisition with one of the top prospects on its board.

Offers from Florida, Oklahoma, and Stanford, as well as most of the regional powers, confirm Micah Kiser's big-time status.  Despite the big names on his personal board, Kiser's choice came down to home-state Maryland and UVA, and he didn't waste any time with frivolities once he made up his mind; Kiser dropped a pleasant Monday night surprise in the middle of a UVA baseball game, without waiting for a particular moment.

Kiser is the kind of well-rounded linebacker prospect that, other than maybe Kwontie Moore, UVA hasn't picked up in ages.  He's athletic enough to already be a state champion as of his sophomore year - not in football, but in lacrosse.  Scouting reports from both Rivals and ESPN tout his first-step quickness and ability to change direction, skills that come in handy in pass coverage.  They're equally big on his football IQ: MDHigh says, "Kiser is a high IQ linebacker who is perpetually one step ahead of the opposing offense. This is the kind of linebacker who can get in a quarterback's head because he reads so well."  His coach adds this: "[UVA really likes] the way he plays the position, how he’s physical and how he knows not only where he’s supposed to be but where everyone else is supposed to be."

Those skills have him playing inside linebacker and quarterbacking the defense at Gilman, but his physical skills lead most sites to project him as an outside linebacker.  Of the five positive traits ESPN gives linebackers in their ratings, Kiser gets four - the only one missing is "inside run support."  The general consensus in that regard goes something like "he'd do fine inside, but would excel on the outside."

So does that mean that's where Kiser is headed?  Probably....maybe.  Though his pass coverage skills and ability to play in space better than most lead scouts to believe he's an outside linebacker, never underestimate a college coach's propensity to reward a high football IQ and put it where it's most useful.  When 2013 rolls around, the only MLB on the roster will be Moore, and right now even he's listed at OLB - we're all just assuming he'll be a Mike because he's so big.  I wouldn't put it past the coaches to put Kiser at any one of the three linebacker positions.

I also wouldn't put it past them to not even think about redshirting Kiser.  Football smarts implies extreme coachability, and that implies the fast track to the field.  As does the depth chart.  Barring an injury to a current starter, Kiser will enter fall camp and find the depth chart very thin on starting experience, and I expect he'll put pressure on the veterans from day one.  Kiser had suitors from all over the country, and offers don't lie: he's got the ability, and a head on his shoulders.  In an ideal - and very plausible - world, Kwontie Moore has just as much defense-quarterbacking ability as Kiser, allowing them to form a pretty formidable tandem in the years ahead.  Either way, I don't expect Kiser to redshirt, and I do expect him to be a top-end starter relatively soon.


Smallish notes:

-- The UVA athletic department felt compelled to put out a statement basically denying the idea that Auburn is on the schedule in 2015 in Atlanta.  Folks got that idea because it was printed on the season tickets they got this week.  They'd probably like you to just forget that happened, and are using the future nine-game conference schedule as the PR version of "these aren't the droids you're looking for," but there's still no good reason to think the idea of another Auburn game is dead.  For one, the bowl folks seemed to really like that matchup since it filled the stadium up awfully quickly.  For another, even with a nine-game conference schedule (which everyone knew was coming in 2015 anyway, regardless of the timing of the Pitt/Cuse announcement, because no matter what, 2014 was their absolute last year in the Biggish Eastish) the 2015 schedule isn't full.  The rumored UConn series doesn't start til 2016, and the definite Stanford series doesn't start til 2017.  My guess: the game is lined up, or at least tentatively so, and it's too soon for the official pronouncement and the game organizers like to be the ones making said pronouncement.

-- Did anyone else notice, by the way, that when the UVA website directed you to the future schedules page, the home-and-home UTSA series is no longer on the docket?  Good riddance; there was no good reason to give a bottom-feeding program a home game like that.  "Recruiting in Texas" doesn't fly as a reason - you don't raise your profile by playing UTSA.  You probably lower it.  And no matter how many games we play in the state of Texas and how hard we recruit that state, we'll still be behind most of the instate schools, most of the SEC, most of the Big 12, and half of the Pac-12 in the pecking order there.  Recruiting-wise, we'd be much better off playing games against, oh, I dunno, Auburn, in closer recruiting grounds, like, oh, say, Atlanta, Georgia.

-- What the hell, France?

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