Tuesday, April 22, 2014

the recruit: Chris Peace

Name: Chris Peace
Position: LB/DE
Hometown: Newport News
School: Denbigh
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 220

24/7: 70, two stars; #211 OLB, VA #86
ESPN: 76, three stars; #91 OLB, VA #32, East #126
Rivals: 5.4, two stars
Scout: two stars

Other offers: FCS only

Today we finally wrap up the series on 2014 recruits.  Does this mean the 2015 recruiting board is finally going to make an appearance soon?  It might!  We can certainly hope.

Chris Peace committed on the same day that Cory Jones did; both received an offer and committed almost immediately during their official visit in January.  Fitting, because the similarities between the two players are immense.  If I told you about a recent basketball convert who piled up huge sack numbers in his first year of playing D-line and whose eye-opening athleticism earned him an offer from Mike London to play the role of pass-rushing OLB in Jon Tenuta's scheme, despite being ignored by the vast majority of FBS football, I still haven't given you enough info to distinguish the two.

So you're lucky I don't just mail it in and link you to the Cory Jones profile.  There are some differences, though.  Peace is not as brand-spanking-new to football as Jones is; he just grew.  A lot.  As a junior - that is, when colleges are really paying attention - Peace was a 6'1", 170-pound wide receiver, and so, ended up on no radars at all because those guys are a dime a dozen, and 170 pounds is too skinny to pay any attention to.

Then he gained 50 pounds, kept the wide-receiver quickness, and added muscle, to the point where ESPN uses the words "strong" or "strength" five times in their evaluation.  This is another difference between Peace and Jones - ESPN likes Peace a lot more, praising his strength, speed, and perhaps most importantly, motor.  Scout says mostly the same things, except for the strength part - they're not as high on that.  Nevertheless, their write-up finishes with, "Peace IS A MAJOR GET" - emphasis very much theirs.

With Peace, Jones, and J.J. Jackson, UVA's entire linebacker class consists of hybrid DE tweeners rather than true linebackers.  You would expect a learning curve for all of them, but especially these last two.  I'm tempted to interpret the presence of all three of them as a way of saying, "look, not all of these guys are gonna pan out, but we're hedging our bets here and at least one of them ought to."  In a way that's a self-fulfilling prophecy, because three guys at the same position in the same class can't all be starters.  By definition, someone will lose that competition.

That's one to look at it, though it's probably not the coaches' intention.  More likely, they saw athletes they liked and thought they could use, thought were flying too far under the radar, and offered, which has been London's SOP for his whole time here.  It just so happens that these are LB/DEs rather than DB/WRs.  Like Jones, Peace is a pretty blank slate, and these kinds of projections and descriptions can be easily thrown off by anything from a new coaching staff to a new growth spurt. 

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