Friday, July 18, 2008
Uncommitted prospect list nothing to take lightly
Wilson commitment is 32nd to a I-A school
Doug Doughty's College Notebook Plus is exclusive to roanoke.com and is posted by 5 p.m. Fridays.
Find his College Notebook from The Roanoke Times in Thursday's college sports section
Miss the Insider column? Check out the Insiders blog
- Linebacker knows Virginia Tech's walk-on tradition
- Hokies, Cavs recruiting ranks 3rd, 4th in ACC, or 6th and 7th
- Green bucks the odds as ACC MVP candidate
- Recruiting updates
Talk about lists!
While I wouldn’t dare to resume last week’s debate over rock music, sitcoms and funny movies, I have, at arm’s length, five different ratings of the state’s top 2009 football recruits, including the one that I have prepared for SuperPrep magazine.
The other lists are from Virginia Preps, the UVa rivals.com site, the Virginia Tech and UVa fans’ boards (same list) and the Commonwealth Board.
I know that Jamie Oakes compiles the list that was published Friday on virginia.rivals.com. Chris Horne’s list on techsideline.com and thesabre.com is billed as a presummer list and is a little more dated (June 4). Zirkle Blakey is in charge of the Virginia Preps site and oversees preparation of that list.
I spoke for the first time Friday with one of the Commonwealth Board administrators who said that probably 90 percent of its subscribers have Virginia Tech as their primary school of interest but the site is constantly looking to improve its UVa sources. The most recent rankings have Virginia recruits Jake Snyder and Luke Bowanko at No. 11 and 21, which is higher than they are ranked almost anywhere.
I take a look at most of those lists but I also confer with college and high-school coaches (I know this is a big surprise) for the lists I compile for The Roanoke Times and SuperPrep. There generally has been a late-summer list of the state’s top seniors that appears on roanoke.com and, most of the time, in the print edition.
While surveying the different lists today and contemplating the 32 in-state players who already have made commitments to Division I-A programs for 2009, it occurred to me that the most pertinent list at the point would detail the state’s top uncommitted players.
That number was trimmed Friday when Virginia Tech took an oral commitment from David Wilson, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound George Washington (Danville) running back who also is a dynamic track performer.
In any case, it is likely that more players will have made oral commitments by the end of the month than will make oral commitments between Aug. 1 and the first Wednesday in February, the traditional letter-of-intent day. It would take an unprecedented 65 Division I-A signees for that not to be the case, but at the current pace, who knows?
THIS IS CLOSE to a consensus of the top 11 uncommitted players in the state:
1. LOGAN THOMAS, 6-6, 225, ATH, BROOKVILLE (LYNCHBURG). Thomas has taken multiple trips to Tech and UVa and has a final seven that includes Clemson, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wake Forest and West Virginia. He was a receiver as a sophomore, when he had 60 receptions, but moved to quarterback last year and had nearly 2,000 yards in total offense. He’s also a better student (3.4) than most of the top uncommitted players.
2. MORGAN MOSES, 6-7, 332, OL, MEADOWBROOK (RICHMOND). Two of the lists have Moses rated as the No. 1 prospect in the state, committed players included, but I’m always going to go with a skill-position player. I’m also hesitant to rate a tight end too highly. That may be the position Thomas plays in college, but his background at wide receiver and quarterback certainly qualifies him as a skilled player. Virginia and Virginia Tech are competing for Moses, but he also has offers from such big-time programs as Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. I don’t know if you put West Virginia in the same category as those schools, but the Mountaineers have offered Moses, too.
3. JEROD ASKEW, 6-0, 215, LB, OSCAR SMITH (CHESAPEAKE). There hasn’t been a big buzz about Askew in these parts, but, in addition to Virginia Tech, he reportedly has offers from Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia, Clemson, Maryland and N.C. State. I’ve seen stats that show Askew and teammate Perry Jones, a UVa commit, with 24 tackles for loss apiece. And, Askew had 14 sacks and Jones had 13. Did anybody else make a stop?
4. LANFORD COLLINS, 6-4, 240, DE, BROOK POINTE (STAFFORD). Could be rated ahead of Askew but comes from a much lower starting point. This could be another Tech-UVa showdown, although some impressive offers have come from Penn State, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia and Boston College.
5. DE’ANTWAN WILLIAMS, 5-7, 202, RB, WOODBRIDGE. Height could be an issue but Oakes this morning also raises the specter of academics. Williams is remarkably productive and has rushed for 1,000 yards or more in three consecutive seasons. That includes a 2,249-yard, 26-touchdown season in 2007. Williams has offers from Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Boston College, Maryland and Pittsburgh.
6. DE’ANTRE RHODES, 6-2, 279, OL-DL, VARINA (RICHMOND). Hasn’t exploded on the national scene, as yet, but you can bet the Hokies would be glad to have him to add to their Varina collection. Didn’t give up a sack all of last season but a lot of people think he could be an even bigger factor on defense. Offers from Tech, UVa, Maryland, Clemson and East Carolina.
7. ANTONE EXUM, 6-0, 200, ATH, DEEP RUN (GLEN ALLEN). As contrasted with Deep Run teammates Jake Snyder, who has committed to Virginia, and Jordan Love, who is headed to Georgia, Exum appears to be taking his time. He plays quarterback at Deep Run, where he had more than 1,500 yards in total offense, but look for him to play receiver or DB in college. He has offers from Tech, UVa, West Virginia, Penn State, Maryland, Wake and Purdue.
8. TIM SMITH, 6-1, 190, WR, OSCAR SMITH (CHESAPEAKE). Smith is a good student and a major target for Virginia, which has had difficulty in attracting marquee in-state players. Virginian Pilot prep coordinator Bryan Black thinks that Smith could have a 1,000-yard season with the departure of I-A receiver signees Todd Harrelson (North Carolina) and Kerry Boykins (Maryland). Smith said this week that he is focusing most of his interest on UVa, Louisville, South Carolina, Boston College and West Virginia.
9. THERON NORMAN, 6-3, 185, WR, HERMITAGE (RICHMOND). Norman is like Logan Thomas and Exum in that he plays quarterback for his high-school team but is more likely to be a wide receiver or DB in college. Tech and UVa would both like him, with the Hokies generally viewed as the leader. He also has an offer from Syracuse and could go in a package with one of his prime targets, Duan Perez-Means.
10. WILL HILL, 6-4, 260, DE, WILLIAMSBURG LAFAYETTE. Another player who has gotten lost in a flurry of recent commitments elsewhere. Hill has family in Michigan and has an offer from the Wolverines, according to the rivals.com database. Other than that, Hill has offers from schools that routinely recruit in Virginia (UVa, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina and Connecticut).
11. JAMES GAYLE, 6-4, 220, DE, BETHEL (HAMPTON). Virginia and Virginia Tech both have offers out to Gayle, so how could you call him a sleeper? (That was my first impulse) His father and his uncle played at Ohio State, his uncle than had an 11-year NFL career, so how long before the Buckeyes jump in? N.C. State and Syracuse are among the seven I-A schools that have offered him.
AND NOW FOR the silly portion of this column:
Last week’s column dealt with the 100 funniest movies of all times and now it’s rock music that has sparked a debate.
After hearing that VH1 was airing its “VH1 Honors the Who” feature on Thursday night, I called Notebook Plus reader and occasional contributor Doug Wright, chief executive officer at Richfield Retirement Community, my future home.
I immediately sensed that Wright was less than enthusiastic about the Who (what would you expect from a guy from Chilhowie) and he subsequently admitted that he was a far greater fan of Led Zeppelin.
(The Foo Fighters’ VHI cover of “Bargain” was fabulous, by the way).
When the issue was raised Friday at the SEC Roundtable, Justin Ditmore voted in favor of the Who but another roundtable member, the musically ignorant Greg Roberts, came out on Wright’s side for Led Zeppelin.
For the rock afficionados in the group, please give us your vote: