Thursday, June 20, 2013

the recruit: Steven Moss

Name: Steven Moss
Position: OG
Hometown: Fredericksburg
School: Chancellor
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 275

24/7: 91, four stars; #14 OG, VA #8, US #215
ESPN: 80, four stars; #18 OG, VA #13, Atl. #44
Rivals: 5.9, four stars; #6 OG, VA #7, US #100
Scout: four stars; #9 OT

Other offers: Oklahoma, Florida State, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Penn State, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Clemson, Auburn, West Virginia, Miami, NC State, Illinois, Maryland, Syracuse, Boston College, Connecticut, Wake Forest

UVA's class of 2014 seems to be shaping up as a mix between the very heavily and very lightly recruited.  Quin Blanding was the first to hop aboard; the next was Steven Moss, not much less-recruiting than Blanding.  Few things make me happier in a recruiting class than a stockpile of top offensive linemen.  With occasional exceptions, Al Groh's OL recruiting at its best was characterized by one major star and then a few fill-ins around that.

Mike London has done a better job stockpiling depth; even so, Moss is the highest-ranked OL he's pulled in so far.  Moss had offers from such luminaries as FSU, Oklahoma, and a myriad of SEC schools, but he was already halfway into UVA's pocket by the time the 2013 class put ink to paper.  Like Blanding, it didn't take him long to make things semi-official and shut down his recruiting.

What makes Moss's ratings so interesting is that he's being rated as a guard.  Obviously, as you can see above, he's not the #1 guard in the country by any stretch, but still: ratings that high are usually found in tackles, not guards.  Moss projects rather heavily as an interior lineman.  He's powerfully built and multiple websites - ESPN and Scout, particularly - praise his strength and mean streak.  The positives listed on Scout's profile are "aggressiveness," "drive blocking," and "nasty streak," which are all pretty much related to each other.

His footwork and athleticism come in for some scrutiny.  24/7 says he's "athletic enough to play right tackle in college," which can be read as code for "but not left tackle," and then they go on to say he'd be a better guard.  And while there have been assessments that say good things about his footwork and movement, he also went to Rivals' camp in Chicago, and, to hear folks there tell it, got owned.  The drills at these camps are generally tailored toward OT-type skills, and Moss didn't really hang with the elite pass-rushers there.  Lateral quickness was said to be an issue. (That said, we're really talking elite here.  The Andrew Browns of the world and such.  That the best of the best beat Moss in a few drills doesn't make him a sudden two-star.)

Moss's size also leans him toward guard.  While he's listed at 6'5", usually, there are also places that say 6'4", which is to say he's probably on the shorter end.  Which is another check in the OG box.  275 pounds is running a little light as well, but I'm actually pretty encouraged by that.  If scouts are saying such awe-inspired things about his strength and power and he's sitting there about 20 pounds lighter than your average college lineman, that can only mean good things when he puts the weight on.

So let's say, what with his size, straight-line power, and questions about his footwork and quickness that ESPN has raised and the Rivals camp seemed to confirm, that Moss is a near-lock for offensive guard.  The post-spring depth chart lists two seniors at guard; the top backups are junior Conner Davis and redshirt freshman Ryan Doull.  Davis will graduate after Moss's freshman year, which presumably will be a redshirt year as there's sufficient depth (Sean Karl is listed at guard, and I would figure, for now, on Jack McDonald and Eric Tetlow starting out at guard too) to let it happen.  Moss, though, could prove to be very tough compeition for that gang.  By 2015, when Moss is (probably) a redshirt freshman, I'm not sure there'll be anyone on the roster so experienced that Moss can't overtake them, if by then he's been living up to his recruiting credentials.


A couple things need pointing out:

-- Mike Tobey deserves at least a golf clap for making the Team USA U-19 roster for this summer's U-19 world championship.  Did the fact that Tony Bennett is an assistant coach for that team have any hand in that?  Maayyyybe.  It could have.  Some might certainly suggest it.  He's not the guy with final authority, though.

-- This just in from the And They Call Us France Department: Virginia Tech perfume.  The jokes, they write themselves.

-- Andrew Brown is going to announce his college choice on June 29.  All signs point to good news.


Anonymous said...

Shame we lost Austin Nicely, but best of luck to him. That said, he probably wasn't going to be a factor for the rotation until his junior year (perhaps his sophomore, but probably not his freshman year). If we keep Jones, Jones/Waddell should be a nice combo, and we should have enough depth to fill out two more spots (say, Lewicki and Mayberry, although Kirby could be a factor. That said, Kirby may be better off slotting in as Kyle Crockett's replacement, for next year, out of the pen).

Anonymous said...

It seems Bennett made an effort to be impartial in the selection. Billy Donovan joked Bennett was Switzerland (always neutral).