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2013 Virginia Football Roster Profile: Brent Urban

We're counting down the entire football team. We begin today, with 81 days remaining until kickoff. The Hoos do not have an 81 on the roster. So, we begin with Brent Urban. He's a senior, he's a returning starter, and he's a team leader. He's also #99, which seems like a good place to start. Ladies and Gentlemen, Brent Urban!


Position: DT
Class: Senior
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 280
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto)
High School: Lone Park Secondary
Twitter: @urbnation99

Coming out of Canada, Brent Urban was a lightly recruited Defensive End. At 6'7", he certainly had the size for the position. But college scouts don't spent much time in Canada, and prospects up there can be difficult to judge due to the quality of competition. Watching his high school highlights, Urban looks like a large man playing against small children. He played a lot out of a 2-point stance, meaning college scouts weren't seeing him at the same position he'd be playing in college. He also played some TE, and may have gotten some looks there. Urban was simply a man among boys, which made it very difficult for scouts to judge his actual talent level. Urban also played basketball (not surprising for a 6'7" 18 year old) and hockey (not surprising for a Canadian). That gives you an idea of the kind of athlete he is. Football scouts like hockey players, because they are tough (Sydney Crosby notwithstanding.)

He had only 2 offers, from Virginia and from Louisville. He was ranked a 2-star DE by Rivals and Scout. ESPN ranked him the 59th best DE, and gave him a grade of 77. (For comparison purposes, Urban's DL-mates this year include Justin Renfrow and Jake Snyder, who each had grades of 78 and were the 41st and 43rd ranked DEs in the same class and both were 3-star recruits.)

Of course, the year was 2009, and Al Groh was still the coach. His days may have been numbered, but he was in charge and that meant we were playing a 3-4 defense. Urban's size was ideal for a 3-4 DE. After a redshirt year, Mike London came to town and installed his 4-3 defense. Suddenly, Urban didn't have a position. You don't see a whole lot of 6'7" DTs, and Urban wasn't near athletic enough for the type of DE London was looking for.

At first, Urban stuck at DE, but he saw just a handful of plays there his first season(2010). In 2011, he saw action in every game, finishing with 15 tackles including 2.5 TFLs. For the 2012 season, Urban was moved inside to DT. This was mostly because of a need at DT, but also because of an influx of DE talent. Urban simply wasn't going to get snaps on the outside. Urban was solid at DT, mostly as a 2-down guy. He finished with 20 tackles, 2.5 TFLs and 2 sacks. He also had a TD against Virginia Tech, in what was his best performance of the season. His improvement over the course was the season was obvious, though it may have been aided by the breakthrough of Chris Brathwaite, who began to command double teams on the inside.

Brathwaite's breakthrough, along with the expected improvements of youngsters like Eli Harold made fans eager to see what the DL could do this year. Alas, Brathwaite is not eligible this year, so that excitement was tempered somewhat. And then the spring game happened.

Simply put, Urban was everywhere. He finished the game with 75 tackles and 40 sacks (those stats are approximate). The DL, even without Brathwaite, dominated the game. This, of course, refreshed that prior excitement.

This spring, Urban won the Iron Cavalier award for tireless work in the weight room. With the lack of DT depth behind him, Urban is likely going to see a sharp increase in snaps, including on third down passing situations. He could be poised for a big year, and if the Hoos are going to be successful this season, Urban will be a big part of it.