Name: David Curry
Hometown: Buford, GA
24/7: 83, three stars; #101 S, GA #132
ESPN: 73, three stars; #116 S, GA #147, SE #642
Rivals: 5.4, two stars
Scout: three stars; #142 S
Other offers: Iowa State, Arkansas State, Georgia State, Miami (OH)
Safeties come in a couple different varieties. Some are "athletes" who seem to pan out best as a safety - think Anthony Harris. Most of UVA's safeties are this kind. Some are born safeties based on their physical attributes - think Quin Blanding, but it doesn't have to be someone whose physical skills are perfectly suited for the position. Sometimes it's because they can't really play anything else.
That's David Curry - too small for linebacker and too slow for cornerback, but a successful high school safety all the same. Curry makes his name on instinct, feel for the game, and tackling skills. This is what earns him low ratings, not necessarily something that makes him a candidate for the back end of the bench for five years. I'm going to have to dip into the Michigan side of me here, but really the comparison that works best is Jordan Kovacs - a player who Division II schools lost interest in recruiting, tried out as a walk-on for Michigan, didn't even make it, tried out again, was given a jersey, and long story short made it to the NFL. (Undrafted, natch.) Kovacs was - is - essentially a savant on defense, who didn't have to run a fast 40 to get to the right spot quickly, and who didn't allow broken tackles.
That's what UVA is hoping for out of Curry. You can't play defensive end just by knowing how, but you can't play safety without knowing how. And the fewer physical gifts you have, the more you better know. Stars from the rating services are four-fifths physical - if you can bench press an ox but lose a battle of wits to it, you might just get five stars anyway, and you'll have at least seven SEC offers.
Since they don't really rate instincts other than to say whether or not a player has them, projecting Curry's future is harder than usual. If he's the kind of guy who picks up on everything immediately, he could leapfrog quite a few residents of the depth chart and play as a freshman. We're losing an all-ACC strong safety to graduation, after all. Curry is a definite strong safety type - in fact, his best fit on a defense is probably as what some defenses call a rover, or basically the third safety who's sort of a linebacker.
Kelvin Rainey and Malcolm Cook have a long, long head start, though, and the odds should be on them to hold onto it for a while. Forget projecting Curry's instincts - we really don't even know a hell of a lot about these two, either, but it's safe to assume they know a little something about Jon Tenuta's system. Curry's mental game is going to have to be well above average; if it's not, he'll just end up muddling along and possibly get recruited over. (Though, it's safe to bet that if he had average field smarts to go along with average athleticism, he'd be playing D-III ball.) He may also simply wait his turn like Cook has been doing so far, and arrive as a starter in his third or fourth season in the program. But in the best-case scenario, he could either surpass a few players or simply prove indispensible and become the fifth starting DB, and watch Tenuta tweak the defense to make that player a safety rather than a corner. In any case, Curry's career is even less projectable than the average recruit from here, for the same reason nobody wanted Jordan Kovacs until they actually put him through his paces on a practice field.