We interrupt your regularly scheduled baseball programming to announce the ninth commitment to UVa football’s 2018 recruiting class: Bobby Haskins, a TE/OT from New Jersey.
Haskins is a post-grad at the Hun School in Princeton, where he transferred after four years at Fairfield Prep in Connecticut. Because he’s a post-grad, he has not been rated by the major services. His other offers include Pitt, Minnesota, Temple, and Rutgers.
Although tight end was not a focal point of the offense in Bronco Mendenhall’s first season, it has been a focus on the recruiting trail. The two highest profile tight ends that Virginia has chased are John Fitzpatrick out of Georgia, and Union High School’s James Mitchell from Big Stone Gap. Fitzpatrick picked up an Alabama offer in recent weeks, and that ship may well have sailed. Mitchell would be a great get for the Hoos, and it’s possible he could be seen as more of a big-frame wide receiver than small-frame tight end.
Regardless, UVA should like what it’s getting in Haskins. He’s 6’7, 245, and shows great versatility. He’s a hard-nosed and effective blocker, both inline and in space. He runs efficient routes and works himself open as the quarterback feels pressure—exactly what a safety-valve receiving option ought to do. There’s some decent straight-line speed, though one would not expect Haskins to regularly stretch the field. I’d also like to see him catch with his hands a bit more: a lot of his receptions get sucked into his gut instead of snagged out of the air. But this is someone who can make a special teams impact on day one (check out those kick blocks!) and develop into a reliable check-down option in Robert Anae’s offense.
So, apparently Haskins isn’t going to stick at tight end in Charlottesville. From the Daily Progress’s Andrew Ramspacher:
The latest football player to be recruited by Virginia’s staff as an offensive lineman has never actually played the position.
Bobby Haskins, though, will be an offensive tackle this upcoming fall for The Hun School in Princeton, New Jersey. On Friday evening in Charlottesville, Haskins committed to the Cavaliers, giving Bronco Mendenhall’s program nine members in its 2018 class.
“When I came down to [UVa] camp, I worked out a couple of different positions,” Haskins said. “I did some tight end stuff, some D-line stuff and then some offensive tackle stuff.
“And then when camp ended, they brought me back in Coach Mendenhall’s office and offered me as an offensive tackle. UVa was a school that I’ve wanted to go to since I was little. It’s an incredible combination of high-level academics and ACC football. So it was really a no-brainer for me and I decided to commit right in the room.”
This puts Haskins in the same boat as 2017 commit Ryan Swoboda: a big-bodied athlete who the staff thinks they can develop into an edge blocker. My highest praise for him before was as a blocker, with my biggest concerns being about his ability to stretch any defensive coverage. If he can add the bulk needed—probably a minimum of 30 pounds—then this could be a real diamond in the rough for the Hoos.