There’s only one team in college football that has two five-star defensive commitments for the class of 2014, and it’s not one of the usual suspects.
On Saturday, the Virginia Cavaliers added another high-profile prospect when Chesapeake, Virginia native Andrew Brown verbally committed to the Cavaliers. He’s the ninth commitment for Virginia, and the second five-star talent within the group.
Brown joins Quin Blanding, a 6-foot-2, 206 pound safety from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to give the Cavaliers the foundation for an outstanding future defense. He chose the Cavaliers over in-state rival Virginia Tech, Alabama, and Clemson.
Brown is an absolute difference-maker on the inside, using his 6-foot-3, 298-pound frame to create havoc in opposing backfields. He’s a rare talent at defensive tackle because he’s effective at stopping the run and is still able to get penetration as a pass rusher. He has experience playing on the outside at defensive end, and has incorporated some of those pass rush techniques on the inside as he moved to defensive tackle as a junior this past year.
That said, he’s also great at the point of attack in the run game, making him a valuable commodity for any defensive coordinator.
While he will need to continue to develop and mature as a defensive tackle (his hand placement is inconsistent, for example), he is the total package when it comes to playing on the interior in college. As such, Rivals has him ranked as the seventh-best player overall in the country, and ESPN has him third.
Virginia fans have to be thrilled with the work that head coach Mike London and his staff have done recruiting this year. Blanding and Brown should both see immediate playing time for the Cavaliers, and could be the cornerstones for a program trying to put itself on the map nationally.
B.L. is an ACC Football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip.