Football Recruiting: What are Virginia's needs for 2013 and beyond?

What positions should London and Co be focusing on in terms of recruiting? - Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE

With signing day coming up, we take a look at the team as it stands and what the team needs going forward. This year's recruiting class likely won't have a huge impact on the 2013 season, so we need to look further into the future to get an idea of what the staff should have been recruiting.

With Signing Day approaching, it is time to take a look at the depth chart going forward and get an idea of what the team's needs will be, both this year and in the future.

First, let's take a look at the position-by-position roster breakdown. Player class is for the 2013 season, and this does not include 2013 recruits. Walk-ons are not included, with the exception of kickers (who as far as I know, are all walk-ons). Chris Brathwaite, who has been declared ineligible for the 2013 season, has not been included.

Position

Total

Players

QB

4

Phillip Sims (Jr.), David Watford (So.), Greyson Lambert (RFr.), Matt Johns (RFr.)

RB

4

Kevin Parks (Jr.), Clifton Richardson (Jr.), Khalek Shepherd (Jr.), Kye Morgan (RFr.)

FB

2

Zach Swanson (Jr.), Vincent Croce (So.)

WR

11

Tim Smith (Sr.), Bobby Smith (Sr.), Darius Jennings (Jr.), Dominique Terrell (Jr.), Miles Gooch (Jr.), E.J. Scott (Jr.), Canaan Severin (So.), Adrian Gamble (So.), Mario Nixon (RFr.), Kyle Dockins (RFr.), Jamall Brown (RFr)

TE

3

Jeremiah Mathis (Sr.), Jake McGee (Jr.), Rob Burns (So.)

OT

5

Morgan Moses (Sr.), Kelby Johnson (Jr.), Jay Whitmire (So.), Sean Karl (RFr.), Mike Mooney (RFr.)

OG

4

Sean Casarano (Sr.), Cody Wallace (Jr.), Connor Davis (Jr.), Ryan Doull (RFr.)

C

2

Luke Bowanko (Sr.), Ross Burbank (So.)

DE

6

Jake Snyder (Sr.), Stephen Lawe (Jr.), Eli Harold (So.), Mike Moore (So.), Diamonte Bailey (So.), Courtnye Wynn (RFr)

DT

5

Justin Renfrow (Sr.), Brent Urban (Sr.), David Dean (So.), Marco Jones (So.), Andre Miles-Redmond (RFr)

LB

7

Henry Coley (Jr.), D.J. Hill (Jr.), DaQuan Romero (Jr.), K'wontie Moore (So.), Demeitre Brim (So), Trent Corney (So.), Mark Hall (RFr.)

CB

6

Demetrious Nicholson (Jr.), Drequan Hoskey (Jr.), Maurice Canady (So.), Kelvin Rainey (RFr.), C.J. Moore (RFr.), Divante Walker (RFr.)

S

9

Pablo Alvarez (Jr.), Anthony Harris (Jr.), Rijo Walker (Jr.), Brandon Phelps (Jr.), Kyrrel Latimer (So.), Darius Lee (So.), Mason Thomas (So.), Anthony Cooper (So.), Wil Wahee (RFr.)

P

2 - not on scholarship

Alec Vozenilek (Jr. - W), Nic Conte (So. - W)

PK

4 - not on scholarship

Drew Jarrett (Sr. - W), Ian Frye (So. - W), Dylan Sims (RFr. - W) Willem Van Reesema, (RFr. - W)

The above is largely unofficial and should be taken with the understanding that things can change. Players change positions all the time (as we saw with Vincent Croce's recent move to FB). Also, players will leave the program for one reason or another (as we saw with Brathwaite). Still, it's a good baseline.

The first thing to note is that there are already 68 players on scholarship. Now, that may change, if certain players aren't invited back for a 5th year (Bobby Smith, for example). The second thing to note is that there are only 10 seniors listed, which includes the aforementioned Bobby Smith and PK Drew Jarrett. This does not bode well for 2013.

However, this post is not about 2013. At least, not specifically. This post is about the future. Largely, the entire 2-deep for 2013 is on the above table. Without considering specific recruits, the positions I could most envision a true freshman stepping in would be C, DL and LB, simply because we are understaffed at those positions.

Now let's look at what we need. Beginning with the offense.

Needs on Offense

The Hoos have 4 QBs on the roster, none of whom are beyond their 2nd year of eligibility. That is good. So, does that mean the Hoos should not take a QB? No. The Hoos, like every college team, should look to pick up at least one signal caller per season. QB is the most important position and also the toughest one to project. That said, the depth there gives the coaching staff flexibility to aim high.

The Hoos also have 4 RBs, although 3 are in the same class with 2 years of eligibility remaining. So clearly, they are in good shape for the next 2 seasons. But, behind those 3 is just the untested Kyle Morgan. That means that in the next two classes, the Hoos need to bring in at least 3 RBs, and at least 1 this year to help space out the classes. Once again, the Hoos have the flexibility to aim high, looking to get a real playmaker at RB. The Hoos, like most teams, rarely recruit FBs. FBs tend to be either bigger RBs (Jason Snelling) or small-ish TEs (Tom Santi). Sometimes players are moved from a different position (LoVante Battle). With the move of Croce to FB, the Hoos are ok there. Blue chip FBs are rare, but if the Hoos find one, they go after him. (Dominique Wallace was the last blue-chip FB we went after, we got him, and then he quit football.)

At WR, let's go forward on the assumption that Bobby Smith will not return. That means 10 WRs on the roster (plus walk-on James Valerias, who may end up on scholarship depending on how the numbers work out). The Hoos have a ton of depth here, and only Tim Smith will be moving on after this season. However, a quartet of juniors will be gone in two years, so it is important for the Hoos to keep building depth here. One (or both) of Mario Nixon and Kyle Dockins may end up at TE due to a lack of depth there, which would deplete the WR corps even more. The Hoos should bring in at least 2 WRs this year, and at least 1 more next year.

The lack of depth at TE which I mentioned in the previous paragraph is a bad sign for a school that used to be TE-U. This season, the Hoos will have just 3 TEs on the roster, and two of them are converted DEs (Mathis and Burns). We all saw what Jake McGee is capable of, and he'll most likely be the starter, but the Hoos simply must bring in some depth at TE. As I mentioned, one of the bigger WRs may end up moving to TE, but the Hoos would like to bring in a TE recruit or two.

All along the OL, the Hoos have a fair amount of depth. However, since this is the only position on the entire roster that is stacked with upperclassmen, the Hoos need to bring in some linemen. As we saw this past year, having veteran OLs does not necessary mean having a strong OL. Still, having a starting line with 3 seniors and 2 juniors isn't a bad thing. But it could make for some struggles down the line when guys like Morgan Moses and Luke Bowanko are gone. The Hoos must continue to bring in 2-3 OLs in each class. A particular focus must be on C, where the Hoos struggled last year. The Hoos were unable to find a consistent replacement for Anthony Mihota, and that played a large role in the OLs struggles all season. Bringing in at least one guy capable of playing C is absolutely imperative.

In total, we're asking the Hoos to bring in 7-10 recruits on offense. This is at a minimum.

Needs on Defense

Last year, the Hoos recruiting class included a couple of the top DEs in the nation, in Mike Moore and Eli Harold. Despite losing Bill Schautz and Ausar Walcott, the Hoos are still pretty well set at DE for the time being. A roster of one senior, one junior and 3 sophomores is solid. Considering the Hoos run a 4-3 defense that largely relies on the DEs to create QB pressure, they need to continue to amass talented athletes at this position. I would expect the Hoos to bring in 1 or 2 DEs in every class and this year is no exception.

In the middle of the defense, the Hoos lost a bigtime producer in Chris Brathwaite. Hopefully, he can get his act together and get back to the team for 2014. For 2013, the Hoos have a couple of seniors on top of the depth chart, but neither is the playmaker that Brathwaite was. There are enough bodies behind those two to keep everybody fresh, and some of the youngsters have promising resumes. However, the overall lack of depth means the Hoos should bring in 2 DTs. If one of them was a blue-chip guy who could step right in and produce, that would be a bonus. Keep in mind that a bigger DE like Mike Moore (listed at 6-4 265) could move inside if necessary.

LB is another position that the Hoos addressed last season. Obviously, losing two senior All-ACC candidates in Steve Greer and LaRoy Reynolds hurts, but still the Hoos should be ok at LB for the next couple of years. Despite those losses, there are still 5 LBs on the roster with playing time under their belts, all of whom have at least 2 years remaining. New Defensive Coordinator Jon Tenuta is famous for aggressive defenses that blitz a lot. So, the Hoos will want to have a lot of depth at LB to keep everybody fresh. With just 1 freshman LB on the roster, the Hoos should bring in at least 2 LBs. Preferably, one who can play inside and one who can play outside.

The Hoos have recruited well in the defensive secondary the past 2 years. With Demetrious Nicholson and Maurice Canady, the Hoos are in good shape at CB. There are also 4 redshirt freshmen CBs on the roster right now, all of whom were well regarded recruits. Considering how many teams are running multiple WR spread offenses right now, the Hoos need to keep up at CB, so bringing in a CB in every class seems prudent. That said, CB should not be a priority for the Hoos this year. Keep in mind that some of those redshirt freshmen CBs could end up at other positions.

Despite having as many as 9 scholarship safeties on the roster last year, this was arguably the most disappointing position on the team last year. Brandon Phelps and Anthony Harris struggled in coverage, struggled in run support, and struggled with tackling. Yeah, they basically just struggled all over the field. Both are just juniors, but there is talent behind them, so hopefully we'll see an improved secondary this year. Hopefully Anthony Cooper can step into one of the safety positions and become a force there. Still, with as much as the safeties struggled last year, the Hoos simply need to bring in some playmakers there. We expect 2 safety recruits.

In total, we are asking for the Hoos to bring in at least 7-9 defense recruits.

Conclusion

With around 68 players already on scholarship for 2013, bringing in the full 25 player allotment simply isn't an option. While the Hoos would certainly never turn down a blue-chip recruit, they have to be a bit picky with recruits this year. We have noted anywhere from 15-20 players that the Hoos need to bring in. This could make for a few tough decisions at the bottom of the roster, but would provide the depth necessary for the future.

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