Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the recruit: Tim Cwalina

Name: Tim Cwalina
Position: OT
Hometown: Mt. Lebanon, PA
School: Mt. Lebanon
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 295

ESPN: 74; two stars; #139 OT
Rivals: 5.5; three stars; PA #29
Scout: two stars

Other offers: Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, Boston College

We're finally at the end of the summer commitment wave. Unless you count Clifton Richardson making it officially official in September-ish, Tim Cwalina committed in July on a visit to Charlottesville and that was the last verbal to Mike London until November.

And when the news came out, UVA fans reacted with a unanimous "wut?"

The word "sleeper" is overused in recruiting; every time everyone's team gets a verbal from some two-star that didn't have any other offers, he's a "sleeper." No, he's a decent-ish football player that nobody else really wanted. Tim Cwalina is a sleeper. He called the recruiting process "hectic and annoying" and I will submit that for galactic understatement of the year because I would guess that Tim Cwalina hates the whole thing. For one thing, that plus a single Rivals article are the only places on the whole googletubes to find an actual thing Cwalina said. Most everything else comes from his coach, some of which are articles for which Cwalina declined to be interviewed.

I don't think he ever went to any combines, either, because all the recruiting sites (which usually get their height/weights from combine measurements) have different statistics on the guy. 295 sounds right since it comes from his high school coach. He could easily be 300 by the time he shows up at UVA, since he packed on 25 pounds during the last offseason.

Despite the dearth of information, football programs know who he is. Cwalina pretty definitely had offers from Boston College and his hometown Pitt, and probably Wisconsin too, as well as a couple maybe-no-one-will-notice-him offers from places like Buffalo. He also made second-team all-state in Pennsylvania (and Mt. Lebanon plays at Quad-A, the highest level, so the competition is stiff) so if they didn't know before the season, they'd have known afterwards.

UVA has four offensive line commits for 2011. Kelby Johnson is from DeMatha, Ross Burbank is from Virginia Beach, and Jay Whitmire is probably the star of the group and played at T.C. Williams. High-profile places for followers of UVA recruiting, to be sure. And Cwalina has, overall, the lowest ratings of the bunch. But it'd be a mistake to ignore him; other than Whitmire, Cwalina has the best offer list. Any lineman that Wisconsin offered is a damn good lineman. He's got long arms and a "prototypical tackle body", so based on a couple paragraphs by the gurus or semi-gurus I'm willing to say he'll stay at tackle. Mike London and his offensive staff are doing a good job of reestablishing the O-line pipeline, and younger players like Morgan Moses and Sean Cascarano are stepping into their roles, so Cwalina and his classmates probably won't get to the two-deep for a couple years. (Moses leaving early for the NFL, as he could do if his talents live up to the hype, could help speed that timeline along.) But there's good reason to believe that this class of linemen, Cwalina included, will make a good successor group when the current core group has moved on.

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