Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the recruit: Eric Tetlow

Name: Eric Tetlow
Position: OL
Hometown: Richmond
School: Mills Godwin
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 300

24/7: 82, three stars; #108 OT, VA #38
ESPN: 79, three stars; #41 OT, VA #23, Atl. #69
Rivals: 5.5, three stars
Scout: two stars; #122 OT

Other offers: Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Arizona State, Maryland, Purdue, Boston College, South Florida, Navy, East Carolina, Temple

Two Signing Day commitments necessitate two more recruit profiles before the series wraps up for the 2013 class.  In the summer, UVA looked pretty set at O-line after taking commitments from Sadiq Olanrewaju, Jack McDonald, and Brad Henson; then some cracks in the depth appeared, most notably the loss of Tim Cwalina to a heart condition, and the coaches started looking around again.  This was even before Henson decommitted; when that happened, the staff went into O-line overdrive.

Tetlow was one of the first guys they reached out to after Henson left; he had been recruited by UVA during the cycle, but was never offered, and committed to Wake Forest in November.  The first time around, he said thanks but no thanks; that was just before Christmas.

But it so happens Tetlow is one of those guys who's picking a school and not just a football team.  And he wants to study engineering, which is a very, very tall task for an athlete.  Even one with a 3.9 GPA.  It's even harder to do at a liberal arts school like Wake Forest.  Tetlow would've had to do some convoluted distance-learning stuff through some other school and the more he thought about that, the less appealing it must have sounded.  So literally in the middle of the night before Signing Day, he called the Wake and UVA coaches and made the switch.  A very nice surprise for UVA fans; I don't envy making that phone call, though.

Tetlow's ratings are all over the map a little bit, but that's not too surprising.  Mid-level offensive linemen tend to be that way more often than not.  His offer list is OK and about matches the ratings.  But what he's got going for him is being the biggest guy in the O-line class.  The only other players already at 300 pounds are defensive guys.  ESPN says "strong" and "strength" a few times in their assessment and sums him up as a guy who can run-block very well and has the physical tools to add pass-blocking to that repertoire.

Right now on the depth chart I've got Tetlow as a tackle, since that's sort of the default for incoming freshmen unless guard looks obvious.  But I'm thinking Sean Cascarano as a comparison here.  Cascarano could be a tackle if we needed it, and probably a good one.  The reason he's not is named Morgan Moses and the other reason is named Oday Aboushi; he basically got pushed inside by players even better suited to tackle than he is.  Tetlow's very similar.  He's got the height and long arms for tackle and he's very smart, I don't doubt he can get the footwork down.  But his run-blocking appears well ahead of his pass-blocking (the latter of which you don't learn anything about in his highlights because his opponents don't have any moves at all)** and the chances are that this class (and maybe the next one) hold players better suited to tackle than Tetlow.  Olanrewaju is an obvious candidate, and George Adeosun blew up so damn fast it's hard not to see tackle potential with him as well.

So I think the ultimate move will be inside to guard.  A smart engineering student like Tetlow might be a center candidate, but we have to wait and see on that.  I suspect we won't learn much at all his first year, really, as I expect the coaches to do a fair amount of experimenting on him.  If he's a guard, the path to playing time is a little more open than at tackle and his redshirt freshman year could see him on the field, with a very legitimate shot at starting by his third year in the program.

**Also, Tetlow has a website, on which is an amusing picture of a relatively clean Tetlow pass-blocking for a quarterback whose every inch of his uniform is caked with mud.  Yes yes a zillion extenuating circumstances, not least of which is that there are four other pass-blockers not headed to BCS-level football, and it is in no way a reflection of Tetlow's skills, but it's still a funny commentary on the pass-blocking when the quarterback looks like a walking mud bath.

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