Tuesday, October 1, 2013

the recruit: Caanan Brown

Name: Caanan Brown
Position: LB
Hometown: Clearwater, FL
School: Clearwater Central Catholic
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 225

24/7: 76, two stars; #135 OLB, FL #235
ESPN: 76, three stars; #77 OLB, SE #379, FL #136
Rivals: 5.4, two stars
Scout: two stars; #125 OLB

Other offers: UMass

Now this is a tough case to crack.  There isn't a lot out there on Caanan Brown, who committed more or less out of nowhere and remains sort of a nowhere recruit.  He plays in a region of the country that's loaded with top football players and therefore doesn't stand out in his locality.  Which in turn means a lack of local-boy-makes-good articles.  He didn't have a lot of offers - the only one consistently listed is one from UMass, although there is one guru article out there that makes a passing mention of FAU, FIU, and Buffalo.

Which leaves us essentially with the conclusion that Brown is one of those Coaches' Choice commits in which someone sees something in him that fits a system.  Obvious guess: Jon Tenuta.  Interestingly, Scout - which rarely has a full strengths-and-weaknesses evaluation of UVA prospects - has such a list that lends a lot of credence to the idea that Tenuta wants Brown in a Max Valles role as a blitzing linebacker.  Included in Brown's strengths, per Scout, is "shedding ability," and indeed, a few of the highlights on his tapes are plays where he's blocked, and then, poof, he isn't.

I have to admit, though, that the main impression I got from the highlight tapes is a need to improve his strength.  I don't usually get a great deal from those things, because they're highlights for a reason.  Everyone looks good on them.  In Brown's case, he's not an overpowering tackler at all, and uses good handwork to free himself from his blocker.  That probably explains the near-consensus two-star rating he received.

It's a shame, really, that ESPN doesn't have a breakdown of his play, because they stand as the outlier as far as ratings go and it'd be interesting to hear their take.  The ratings from everyone else on Brown are very consistent, and his offers line up with that.  Very unenthusiastic.  It's likely, therefore, that Brown is being recruited to fill a specific niche rather than a full-time starting role - at least initially.  He's got decent quicks for his size, and Scout (and Brown himself) speak of pass coverage as an area for improvement, all of which only add to the narrative of a guy being brought in to rush the passer.  Brown plays both DE and LB for his high school team, so it won't be a major leap.

I suppose if Valles is listed as a "strong-side linebacker," that's where Brown will end up if I'm right about his future role.  But a lot of this is speculation, too; we're still getting a feel for Tenuta's philosophy on things.  I mean, we know he likes to get all blitzy up in here, that's not new.  But there's a lot of underlying detail there, which we're still feeling our way around.  I suspect Brown is a recruit who Jim Reid would never have given a look, and that he's a Tenuta pick all the way, so rather than use what we know about the defense to project Brown's future, it's more like we'll use Brown as a data point on Tenuta's outlook on life.

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