Year: RS Freshman
Hometown: Falls Church
It can be difficult to write these profiles for young walk-ons. They haven’t played, they aren’t likely to play and there usually isn’t much information about them. Case in point, Sean Fitzgerald. His profile on Virginiasports.com lists some accomplishments (both on the field and off) from his days at Gonzaga HS in DC. Then it mentions that he was HS teammates with fellow first-year Nick Johns. Johns, as we know, is no longer at UVA.
Fitzgerald, though, does have some recruiting information online. Here is his Hudl page with his senior highlight video and below is a highlight reel that we can embed right here.
Watching the two videos gives you an idea of the type of player he is. He does a little bit of everything, rushing the passer, stopping the run and getting out in coverage. It seems like coverage is his strength, though as always it is hard to tell from a highlight video. One thing that is evident is that he makes quick reads and good decisions. There are a couple of times where he appears to have read the play before I’m even able to tell what is happening. That’s a credit to his preparation and his football IQ (and his coaching).
Though it’s a highlight reel, he seems to make good solid tackles. Sadly, this is where the problems begin to arise. Fitzgerald is simply too small to play LB at this level. And he’s not near quick enough to play DB. If he could put on another 20 pounds of muscle and not lose any speed, he’d have a shot at being a WLB in the Hoos’ new 3-4 defense. A LB who can read plays quickly and play good zone coverage is valuable, but not if he can’t tackle the ballcarrier.
The Hoos’ new coaching staff includes new strength and conditioning people as well. They will have to work hard to get Fitzgerald to a point where he’s big enough and strong enough to make plays at this level. Until then, he’s not going to see the field.