As most fans know by now, despite the Hoos horrible season, somehow Mike London has convinced two of the top players in the nation to come to Charlottesville next year. Those two guys are DT Andrew Brown and S Quin Blanding. In a move that surprised nobody, Brown was named the Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year (warning: PDF).
Brown has amassed 86 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 6 fumble recoveries in 13 games this season. His team, Oscar Smith HS, is 13-0 on the season and plays in the state semifinals tomorrow night against Colonial Forge. Brown also carries a 3.6 GPA and plans to enroll early at Virginia, and will participate in spring practice.
Brown is one of the frontrunners for the Gatorade National Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this year. Current Hoo Demetrious Nicholson was the Gatorade Virginia POY in 2010. Also, former Virginia QB Phillip Sims was the POY in 2009.
With the departure of Brent Urban, there is an obvious opening at DT and Brown is the frontrunner to step in there. Urban finished 2nd on the team in TFLs, despite missing 4 games, so Brown has some big shoes to fill.
With the addition of Brown, plus the potential return of 2012 breakout DT Chris Brathwaite, the Hoos DL could be a formidable unit next year. DE Eli Harold had 8.5 sacks and 15 TFLs along with 2 FF and 2 FR and there are a number of candidates to replace Jake Snyder at the opposite DE spot.
Nothing has changed with Blanding, whose Bayside team was knocked out of the playoffs by Oscar Smith.