Friday, February 03, 2006
Ratings business an inexact science
Top 100 starts to shake out. See the full list
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
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- 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
Editor's note: Doug Doughty's Notebook Plus column will return next Friday, February 17.
Leave it to man-about-town Gene McBurney to put this whole recruiting furor in its proper perspective.
“How many stars did Heath Miller get?” McBurney, a plain-spoken Ole Miss grad, asked at Friday’s SEC Roundtable.
Actually, it was more of a square table with defections from the likes of “coach” Jerry English and radio-show host Greg Roberts, who reported that he had cleaned up his appearance after last week’s dressing-down, only to learn that his wife wanted him to get a passport.
(Now that Roberts is up to eight hours a week, I can see why he needs a vacation. If we’re lucky, they won’t let him back in the country. As for the coach, now that he’s gotten the $65 I owed him, I suppose he no longer has any need for us.).
Most of the talk this week has centered around recruiting and, I swear, I’ve never heard so much yakking about four- and five-star recruits. There is a gentleman from Roanoke who calls almost every week to ask how many two- and three-star recruits Virginia has.
I never paid much attention to the stars until this year, but I can’t wash my hands of this recruiting craze. This may have been the 25th year that I’ve rated the top 25 prospects in Virginia, a list that has grown to 100 seniors and 25 juniors over the list.
I don’t know how many stars Miller, now preparing to start for Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl, got. I do know that he was rated the No. 15 prospect in Virginia as a senior – 10 spaces below Patrick Estes, bound for UVa as a tight end while Miller was still a Honaker High School quarterback.
Past listings are full of prospects who became much better – or worse – players than their Roanoke Times ratings would suggest. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer alluded to several of them Wednesday, including All-America defensive back Jimmy Williams, who was 26th on The Roanoke Times list.
He also mentioned Tech offensive lineman Will Montgomery, who was 43rd (Beamer must have all the lists; I wish I could make the same claim). All I can say to that is, if Beamer knew Montgomery was going to be a first-team All-ACC player, why didn’t he offer him a scholarship?
IT WAS INTERESTING to call up virginiapreps.com today and see Zirkle Blakey’s list of the top 100 UNSIGNED players in the state. That can be a little risky because, the more players you rate, the more glaring the omissions are.
For instance, I didn’t see Isaac Cain on the virginiapreps.com list. Cain is a 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman from Hampton High School who took an unofficial visit to Virginia last weekend and, according to Crabbers’ coach Mike Smith, is likely to enroll at Virginia as a walk-on.
Cain, who has a 3.9 grade-point average, is a first-team All-Peninsula District selection and played on a state-championship team. How does a player like that fall through the cracks?
“He might be 6-5,” Smith said. “He’s got very good feet. He’s a puppy. He’s a project, but he’s got a chance, a pretty good one, I believe. Second year he ever played football. Used to be in the band.”
Smith said the Cavaliers were not involved with Cain until Mike London rejoined the staff as defensive coordinator. London, who spent one year as the Houston Texans’ defensive-line coach, previously served as UVa’s recruiting coordinator and was responsible for the Hampton-Newport News area.
“It comes down to getting a kid’s name out there, having one coach get after a kid and then other people start calling you about recruiting him,” Smith said. “One thing feeds off another.”
When I did get in touch with Blakey, to his credit, he was aware of Cain but said his sources indicated Cain is too raw to be viewed as a prospect at this point. I’ll take his word for it, but no school can have too many 3.9 students walking around, especially if there’s no price tag attached.
THANKS TO BLAKEY and his site, we can update some of the uncommitted players on The Roanoke Times’ list of the state’s top 100 players.
Still the state’s top uncommitted player is 6-2, 250-pound Patrick Henry-Ashland defensive end Marcus Anthony, who has said he intends to try prep school in order to his stock.
William and Mary recruits include two players from Northern Virginia, 68th-rated David Miller, a place-kicker from Westfield High School, and 85th-rated Thomas Humphreys, an offensive lineman from Centreville.
Central Michigan signed another Centreville offensive lineman, 6-3, 260-pound David Miller, and when you look at trends in Virginia recruiting, it’s hard to miss the number of Virginia prospects who signed with Mid-American Conference schools.
Akron signed two, Kent signed two and four schools -- Ohio U., Bowling Green, Temple and Central Michigan – signed one. That doesn’t include six post-graduate six players from Hargrave and Fork Union who went to MAC schools, including two Virginia High School League products, Ernie Hodge and Horace Hubbard, headed from Hargrave to Ohio.
It was interesting to see that new Temple head coach Al Golden, previously the defensive coordinator at Virginia, signed three players from Hargrave and one from Fork Union. UVa did not sign a single prep-school player, a trend that might be academically motivated.
One player who had committed to the previous Temple staff, Liberty-Bealeton nose tackle Aaron Hull, apparently did not qualify and is headed to Arizona Western Junior College. Another celebrated high-school prospect, Rontray Houchens from Lousia County, is headed to Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
The other UVa coordinator-turned-head coach, Ron Prince at Kansas State, signed running back Jamal Schulters off the Fork Union undergraduate team. Schulters was rated the No. 40 player in Virginia and it appears that K-State also is trying to place mammoth E.C. Glass offensive lineman Anthony Davis, who previously had expressed interest in UVa.
According to preliminary calculations, there are close to 50 in-state players (not counting postgraduate players) who have either signed or committed to Division I schools. That includes four players who did not make the Top 100 – Deep Creek Orlando Barrow (Bowling Green), Kempsville wide receiver Dante Barnes (Akron), Phoebus quarterback Arron Ward (Marshall) and Magna Vista lineman Erik Vint (Marshall).
I’m still not sure why I put Orange County’s 6-5, 350-pound Asa Chapman on the “waiting list” because that’s usually reserved for players who don’t sign. Chapman did sign with the Cavaliers but is not expected to enroll for at least another year.