Wednesday, July 1, 2009

the recruit: Pablo Alvarez

First, some of that shameless self-promotion you've surely come to enjoy by now: my thoughts on the Director's Cup are up at Go have a look-see.

OK: Pablo. I'll tell you what the first thing that strikes me is: the weekend's basketball commitment, Will Regan, looks young enough to be Pablo's son; likewise, Pablo could pass for 38. Also, he will be to my knowledge the first football player at UVA named Pablo - this is a big plus.

Name: Pablo Alvarez, Jr.
Position: CB (for now, I guess)
Hometown: Miami, FL
School: Belen Jesuit Prep
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 190

Rivals: NR
Scout: NR

Out of the blue, this one. For one thing, we don't go into Florida much. Less than most ACC teams, anyway. One recruit last year, one in 2006, and one in 2003 has been the extent of our success in that state in the last howevermany years. Besides that, Alvarez has been flying far enough under the radar that I barely had even heard of him, let alone had him on the board, by the time he committed. Naturally therefore, he's got absolutely zero evaluation from anywhere, so there's very little to go on.

As usual then, we look at the offers, and to me they suggest a high two-star/very low three-star. Iowa, Northwestern, Duke, maybe Kansas State depending on whether you believe Scout or not, and I'm not sure I do.

What I really gather out of this is that Groh went after Pablo mainly for his athleticism, which is tough to match. Lot of football players are also track stars; much less common are hurdling stars, in which Pablo is nationally ranked. This is actually really interesting to me; hurdling requires more than raw speed, it requires technique and some actual leg strength. He's tall for a cornerback, if that's where he ends up, so leg strength is a must because tall, top-heavy cornerbacks don't do well. Did I mention he's really good at hurdles? He's got some times listed here; for comparison's sake, because I really wouldn't know what makes a good hurdles time and maybe you wouldn't either, here are the national best times.

I really don't know how much this'll translate to football though, in no small part because it's anyone's guess where he'll end up, even if it's cornerback to start. Pure athleticism seems to be the primary motivator here; his highlight film doesn't showcase much in the way of cover skills or route-running (he plays two ways, natch, most of the best athletes do) but there are quite a few clips of him coming from outside the play and chasing down a ballcarrier after a lengthy run. Pablo's going to have to scrap to make an early impact though. His tackling's a little rough, things like that. (Of course, you always hope your DB's don't have do any tackling.) It's all coachable stuff though. It's hard to beat the athleticism of a hurdler and even harder to coach that into someone. Given some development time, Pablo's got the makings of a matchup nightmare for smaller wide receivers.

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