Friday, February 17, 2012

Vandy's James Franklin lands bluechip QB Johnathon McCrary - and what Danny O'Brien has to do with it

James Franklin is the freaking man.

While everybody’s peppering him with questions about Danny O’Brien and Randy Edsall, Franklin’s landing a verbal commitment from Johnathon McCrary, who has a scholarship offer from Alabama and just returned from a visit to Junior Day at Tuscaloosa.

Oh, and McCrary, from Cedar Grove High in Ellentown, Ga., also has offers from Georgia, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas and Tennessee.

He’s 6-3, 190 and considered to be a dual-threat quarterback. Still unrated by Scout, but has four stars from Rivals, as well as the same 5.9 rating that Brian Kimbrow got, and is a member of ESPN’s top 150 players.

This is huge. In his first season, Franklin took the Commodores to a bowl by dramatically improving the offense despite a patched together offensive line that during the season started four players who were recruited or projected as defensive ends coming out of high school.

Franklin just signed six SEC-caliber offensive linemen. One had an offer from Alabama and two others had offers from Florida. He said last year that he’s looking for athletic tackles with long arms and quick feet, and that’s exactly what he got. All these guys have long frames and can add another 30 pounds or more and should be ready to go in a year or two. Add that to the five lineman — mostly interior guys — in last year’s class and we’ve got a nice foundation.

So, first Franklin keeps the interior guys – Pulley, Townsend, Bernstein and Valedon plus tackle Lewis – who had committed to Hand and Caldwell during the two-win 2010 season, then this year he adds his tackles – Jelks, McCoy, Holden and Fromang plus solid interior guys Butler and Gouger.

Meanwhile, he’s signing his first pure quarterback, Patton Robinette. He’s also picking up one of the nation’s fastest high school seniors (Kimbrow), a solid wide receiver (Batey), and a little all-purpose guy (McKenzie) who can play slot.

Now he’s got his blue-chip quarterback in McCrary. Which means we’re now in the market for some blue-chip wide receivers and maybe even a big every-down running back.

Of course, we’ve got to hang onto this kid for nearly an entire year. I’m less worried after watching how Franklin and staff reeled in Brian Kimbrow over the past 12 months.

Really, winning will take care of everything. Expect us to be in the running for some big names throughout the spring and summer. Then, if we can beat the teams we’re supposed to and if Franklin can pull a signature upset and establish the Commodores as a threat on the road in the SEC, then we should have the kind of recruiting haul we’ve only dreamed of.

When we start signing 300-pound defensive tackles, we’ll know we’ve arrived. That day is coming.

So what does Danny O’Brien have to do with all this? A lot.

For one thing, Franklin is getting a ton of positive publicity out of this. And if we get O’Brien, it will only make our team – including the quarterbacks at the top of our current depth chart – better. O’Brien would help us bridge the gap to the future. He and Carta-Samuels would leave at the end of the 2013 season (Rodgers is done at the end of 2012), and redshirt sophomore Robinette, redshirt freshman McCrary and maybe a true freshman better than both of them would be waiting in the wings.

Exciting times, eh?


Anonymous said...

We need all the qb help we can get. I am very excited about Samuels, but need to see how he stacks up against SEC defenses.

I was absolutely thrilled with Rodgers when he came on the scene last year. But later in the year, (and I am not sure why this happened but it did), instead of looking downfield all the time like he should have been on a 5 or 7 step drop, he started looking for the big hit coming on him. In fact, you could see his body language, he would "cringe" right before he was getting tackled. In the SEC, you have to stand in there and take those hits while you unload. He did have one really nice play at ut when he did this, otherwise he had a fairly awful game.

Watch the film closely if you don't believe me. He had not done that in his first 3 or 4 games. It was especially noticeable during the bowl game. He is not a pure passer. He is a competitor,and has a tremendous set of wheels. And I am a big fan. However, once the SEC coordinators starting taking away his running lanes, he was pretty well toast.

Bring on O'Brien, MCcrary, whoever. We need all the talent and competition we can get, because we still do not have a "proven" SEC arm that we know of.

jayden said...

Lots to be excited about with McCrary. He will get labeled "dual threat" because hes black and is capable of running, but hes a lot more like Steve McNair in 2003 rather than 1998. This kid has the high profile that usually waits till much closer to signing day, so the fact that he sought us out and committed this early is a great sign.

Anonymous said...

Kent is on scholarship. He earned one at the end of BoJo's career.

Great blog post. Very detailed. ACS throws the best ball on the team by far. His throwing coach from high school learned from Tom Brady's coach. Kid has a great motion. Only fear is that he's too short to compete and see over the o-line.

At the end of the day, I just don't trust Rodgers. He didn't get it done when he needed to. The fact that Franklin replaced him in the last 5 minutes of the bowl game was a complete slap in the face.

I think your analysis of Grady is too optimistic. In my opinion, he just doesn't have the right stuff. He can't throw very well. He looks like he short arms the ball. And, he he's also very short. I don't see him ever getting playing time, unless he switches positions.

Kentera throws a decent ball, but he has the build to be a successful QB. However, I think that he'll change to wide receiver once the Maryville QB finds his way.