Name: Andrew Brown
School: Oscar Smith
24/7: 100, five stars; #1 DT, VA #1, US #4
ESPN: 94, five stars; #1 DT, VA #1, East #2, US #4
Rivals: 6.1, five stars; #1 DT, VA #3, US #8
Scout: five stars; #1 DT
Other offers: Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford, USC, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Penn State, South Carolina, Nebraska, Florida, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, West Virginia, Miami, NC State, Illinois, Duke, Wake Forest, Cincinnati, South Florida, Syracuse
Admit it, you've been waiting for this one. There's nobody who doesn't think Andrew Brown is the best defensive tackle in the country, and programs from coast to coast were banging down his door. It's almost superfluous to list his offers, because there's no program anywhere who'd turn him down. Brown committed to UVA back in the summer, a more innocent time full of rainbows and chocolate gumdrop fountains and candy ponies and stuff. Before the Doom.
He stuck with it anyway, and made some news last month by signing his financial aid paperwork at UVA, which under a new interpretation of an old rule, allows the school to acknowledge his existence by name. It was kind of a big deal, in the sense that at least it allowed us to see something going right.
Brown's story is well-known by now. He hails from maybe the most talent-rich school in the whole state, Oscar Smith, which hasn't known this year what a close game is like. That team has dispatched every one of its opponents with ruthless efficiency and will almost certainly win a state title in Scott Stadium about nine days from now. Thus his name is pretty familiar, even to those who only tangentially follow the sport. (It's worth mentioning, though, that Brown was one of many to take advantage of Virginia's very lax transfer rules, and began his career at Indian River.)
Brown is, of course, heavily and extensively scouted. Most prospects have a few videos on Rivals. At least one or two. Brown has 51. Everyone who watches him credits him with explosive quickness off the ball and disruptiveness in general. He's strong - of course he is or he wouldn't be a consensus five-star - but reading between the lines I gather that it's that fast-twitch quickness that separates him. He's a three-tech defensive tackle in the body of a nose tackle, which is a pretty deadly combo.
When he gets to UVA, which will be for the spring semester as an early enrollee, he probably won't play only defensive tackle. Jon Tenuta and the defensive coaches will probably have him at end sometimes too; given a weapon like Brown, there's no reason to put him in a box. And there ought to be no expectation of a redshirt, and you're hereby authorized to reach through your screen and slap the first redshirt zealot who laments the fact that Brown won't use one. With Brent Urban departing, UVA will be awfully young at DT, David Dean suddenly being the greybeard of the unit. Barring possible moves (Michael Moore?) there'll only be three other scholarship DTs besides Dean, which is a little bit scary in the depth department considering how bad the defense looked when the coaches had to dip into the walk-on ranks to play DT this season. (It wasn't often - only once, I think - but it was ugly.)
One of the real letdowns of the season (among an admittedly huge selection) is that the recruiting class didn't develop around Brown and Quin Blanding like it should've. Two five-stars, which just never happens to UVA, and we've struggled to surround them with talent. So much of the class has the feeling of the kind of player at tremendous risk of being recruited over by the next regime. But with the proper development (iffy given this head coach's lack of attention to detail, but this isn't the time for whining) Brown should be what Urban would've been this season, but better....and much sooner.
I was expecting to write some sort of recap of Wisconsin, but since the team shot like 3% from layup range, that pretty much becomes the story of the game. Fortunately, I didn't really see anything that looked like a chronic unfixable problem, but unfortunately, the resume is starting to pile up with home losses - bad for the RPI, and representing wasted chances. The last chance to put a nonconference win on the resume worth having will be at Tennessee.
If I could throw one more raincloud into the mix, it'd be this one observation: Akil Mitchell does look like he's regressed on offense. Not just based on the Wisconsin game. I expected less of a role for him on that end, but he's forcing things that aren't there. Fortunately, he remains an elite defender, and it should be mentioned that Tony deserves a ton of credit for a defensive gameplan that delivered an outstanding performance. Even disregarding tempo I don't think anyone will lock down Wisconsin like that all year. Their .217 performance from three was no accident.