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Virginia Football Recruiting: Tanner Cowley Commits!

TE is a position of need for 2015 and the Hoos gained an early commit there. TE/OLB Tanner Cowley committed yesterday, giving the Hoos 5 recruits so far for 2015. Cowley is 6'5" and 215, so he'll have to bulk up, but he has good speed. While he's starting out as a TE, don't be surprised to see him end up at WLB or even MLB.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Mike London and the Hoos reeled in their 5 recruit for 2015, with the commitment yesterday of NJ TE Tanner Cowley. Cowley also plays OLB, although the Hoos are recruiting him as a TE. It seems most schools were looking at him on defense, or at least that is where he's listed on recruiting sites. He comes out of Manasquan, which is a beach town in central NJ. Manasquan High School is Jack Nicholson's alma mater.

Cowley is listed at 6'5" and 215 pounds. Considering his height, it's really undersized for any position at this level, but OLB especially. A 215 pound TE isn't likely to be much help blocking, but could still be useful as a pass receiver. Cowley, of course, is still just a junior in HS. He has an entire year to bulk up before he ever sets foot on grounds. And then, most likely, he'll have a redshirt season to bulk up even more. By the time he's ready to play, he might be a much bigger guy.

Cowley isn't rated yet by ESPN or Rivals, but he's rated as a 3 star DE by Scout. That doesn't help us very much, as he isn't going to play DE for the Hoos.

Here's his junior year highlight video, on Hudl:

And here is a sophomore year highlight video that I can embed here:

Both videos is entirely of him playing LB, with not even a glimpse of him at TE. This is disappointing, as the early word is that the Hoos like him at TE. TE is a big need for the Hoos in this recruiting class.

I was able to find a couple of quick highlights of him at TE:

Neither of those shows much and the quality is poor on both of them, but on both plays he goes up to get the ball over a DB. This is pretty much exactly what you want from a 6'5" TE. There's no way to know what kind of a route runner he is, or what he might look like in the open field. There's no real way to judge his hands, although he does everything right on these small two examples.

Watching the first video (the Hudl video), I see a LB who sees the play develop very well. Of course, it's hard to really judge from a highlight reel, but he does a great job of reading screen plays and draw plays as well as flare passes and other short throws. He's in a zone on most of these plays, and he breaks quickly and makes the play. His reactions are very good, and lead to believe he could ultimately end up at MLB, which is a much bigger need position for the Hoos. A guy with his height would be somewhat rare at MLB, but not unprecedented. It would depend largely on his ability to avoid and/or get off blocks.

With Cowley in the fold, the Hoos are off to a pretty good start on the recruiting front. Here's a list of the 205 class:

Juan Thornhill, DB - Altavista, VA

Ryan Bischoff, OL - Plymouth Meeting, PA

Nick Johns, QB - Washington, DC

David Eldridge, WR - Nokesville, VA