2014 Week In Review: First Edition

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The Week In Review is back for the 2014 season. This feature is a look at how University of Virginia commitments — both class of 2015 and class of 2016 — have performed on the gridiron so far this season. In most weeks we will have a “Player Spotlight”, and this week’s “Spotlight” is on Buford (GA) safety David Curry.

Player Spotlight: David Curry

Buford (GA) senior David Curry verbally committed to UVa this summer. His father, Buddy, played at UNC before moving on to an NFL career. At 6’1”, 195 pounds, the younger Curry primarily plays wide receiver and safety for the Wolves, but he has also seen action at linebacker this year. Outstanding in the pole vault, Curry captured a state championship in track his sophomore year and had a runner-up finish as a junior. He may vault this year, but his focus is “being ready to play when I get to Virginia.”

On the gridiron, Curry has helped Buford, one of the Peach State’s top high school football programs, to a 3-0 start to the 2014 season. The Wolves began the year with a 17-0 win over Jacksonville (FL) Trinity Christian, a game that was televised on ESPN2. Buford then blew away Berkmar before receiving a serious test this past week, escaping with a 27-20 win over McEachern. Curry made a key defensive play and had 36-yard punt return to set up a touchdown in last week’s victory.

Why did you pick UVa?

David Curry: “Mike London is great. He is a great person and a great recruiter. It wasn’t just the coaches, though. There was playing in the ACC. My favorite team growing up was UNC because my dad played there. Once UVa offered and UNC didn’t offer, and then the recruiting job by Virginia and everything is just beautiful [in Charlottesville], when I visited I walked off knowing it was probably the place for me. I loved it because of the education, the campus, and the town.”

When did UVa begin showing interest?

David Curry: “A month before spring practice this year, Scott [Wachenheim] came down to check some people out from our school. He didn’t know anything about me. In track, I do the pole vault and I was state champion two years ago. I was runner-up last year. Scott asked JT who I was. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but when I first spoke to him he was using young and hip terms. It kind of caught me off guard. Scott was making jokes. He’s a cool guy. That’s pretty much how he has been throughout this whole thing.”

What position does UVa want you to play? Do you feel you could play on either side?

David Curry: “I do play both sides in high school and I feel I could play either side in college, but they like me at safety. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll end up playing on the college level. I’m almost 200 pounds now and I try to keep off weight. I could probably be 215 or 220 if I wanted to. This year on my high school team, whenever they need me to I go down to linebacker. I’ve made a few good plays at linebacker. My dad thinks I have the instincts of a linebacker.”

Trinity Christian features a top defense led by 5-star corner Kevin Toliver, but you came away with a solid victory. How were you able to be successful against them?

David Curry: “Their DB core, they have 5-stars all over the field. Honestly, we were not really worried because the defensive backs did not affect us and what we wanted to do. We run the ball.”

With your father’s background, has football always been a big part of your life?

David Curry: “I started playing football when I was eight years old. Of course, my dad was my coach. My dad is probably the most passionate man I’ve met in my life. When I was young, I wasn’t as hard-nosed as I am now. Back then I liked football because I was competing, but I didn’t love it when I was younger. My seventh grade year I decided not to play. I missed it. In the ninth and tenth grades, I played a lot and just started loving it.”

What is one piece of advice you have gotten from your father that has really helped you get to this point?

David Curry: “I could come up with a bunch. There are two main ones. He is all about tackling the right way. He is a Heads Up football pro trainer. He knows all about that stuff. If I tackle the wrong way, he is all over it. He wants me to tackle the right way. That’s a big thing. Another is doing things other people won’t. When I’m done with practice I’ll work out an extra hour. My dad told me this is what I have to do if I want to go to the next level.”

What makes Buford so successful?

David Curry: “We are year round. That’s all I can say. Nobody works harder or prepares betters.”

Do you have any pregame or game rituals or superstitions?

David Curry: “Of course I always pray before games. Multiple times. I wouldn’t say I’m superstitious. Once school lets out, there is usually five hours until we play. We hang up ENO hammocks all over the weight room. We just hang out in there before every game. We’ll watch other games and just hang out.”

What is pole-vaulting like?

David Curry: “It’s very hard. People look at it like it would be fun, but it’s very hard. It’s literally gymnastics with a stick. I think it has helped me out a lot with football. You have to be flexible and all that stuff. You have to be fast and flexible. Pole-vaulting is very time consuming. As a sophomore when I won state, pole vaulting was my thing. My junior year I started playing football really good, and I decided I’d rather play football in college than pole vault.”

UNC was your childhood favorite as well as the school your father attended. What do you think it will be like the first time you step onto the field against the Tar Heels?

David Curry: “I have a few buddies there now and a few that are going there. It’ll be like playing against friends and my childhood favorite team. Of course, it’ll be fun. I love UVa and everything about it. I can’t wait to be there.”

THE REST OF UVA’s CLASS OF 2015

Here are how Virginia’s other committed players have performed on the field so far this season…

Ryan Bischoff, OL, Plymouth Whitemarsh (Plymouth Meeting, PA)

Plymouth-Whitemarsh fell to Abington, 23-8, and is now 0-2 on the season.

Next: Away versus Norristown on Saturday, September 13

Richard Burney Jr., TE, Hickory (Chesapeake, VA)

Hickory had a bye this past week. The previous week, the Hawks (0-1) lost to Norview by a score of 26-17.

Next: Home versus Western Branch on Friday, September 12

Rasool Clemons, DE, South Aiken (Aiken, S.C.)

South Aiken is 0-2 after dropping a 28-14 decision to Midland Valley last week. Clemons turned in a big-time individual performance in South Aiken’s season opening loss to Aiken the week before, racking up 11 tackles including two tackles for loss and one sacks. He had two fumble recoveries as well.

Next: Home versus Glenn Hills (Augusta, GA) on Friday, September 12

Tanner Cowley, TE, Manasquan (N.J.)

Click here for a preview of Manasquan’s 2014 varsity football squad, which is led by the UVa-bound Cowley.

Next: Away versus Raritan in 2014 season opener on Friday, September 12

Kareem Gibson, CB, Greater Johnstown (Johnstown, PA)

Greater Johnstown improved to 2-0 after defeating Bishop Carroll last week by a score of 24-7.

Next: Away versus Bishop McCort on Saturday, September 13

David Eldridge III, WR, Kettle Run (Nokesville, VA)

Eldridge had five catches for 41 yards and returned a kick-off 70 yards, but Kettle Run lost big to Tuscarora in its season opener on August 29. The Cougars had a bye this past week.

Next: Home versus Millbrook on Friday, September 12

Eli Hanback, DT/OL, Patrick Henry (Ashland, VA)

Patrick Henry lost its season opener to Hanover, 16-0.

Next: Home versus Atlee on Friday, September 12

Nick Johns, QB, Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.)

Johns totaled 150 yards and three touchdowns (2 rush, 1 pass) in Gonzaga’s 31-14 victory over Centreville (Clifton, VA) last week. The UVa-bound quarterback had four touchdowns (3 pass, 1 rush) in Gonzaga’s season opening win over Neshaminy of Pennsylvania.

Next: Away versus Georgetown Prep on Saturday, September 13.

Kareem McDonald, LB, Woodrow Wilson (Washington, D.C.)

Wilson evened its record to 1-1 after defeating DuVal High School, 28-16, this past week.

Next: Versus Friendship Collegiate Academy on Friday, September 12

Gladimir Paul, DE, Northeast (Philadelphia, PA)

Northeast lost by one, 35-34, in its season opener against Abington. Paul had two sacks in the loss. The Vikings fell to Father Judge last week by a score of 38-13.

Next: Away versus Benjamin Franklin on Saturday, September 13

Grant Polk, OL, Charlotte (Punta Gorda, FL)

Charlotte (2-0) defeated North Port in its season opener and captured a 28-14 victory over Barron Collier in Week 2. The Fightin’ Tarpons have a bye this week. Polk will use the time off to make his official visit to the University of Virginia this weekend.

Next: Home versus Venice on Friday, September 19

RJ Proctor, OL, Liberty (Bealeton, VA)

Proctor and the rest of the Eagles offensive line paved the way for Liberty to rush for over 350 yards in last week’s 65-0 win over Orange. Liberty is now 2-0 on the year.

Next: Away versus Mountain View on Friday, September 19

Myles Robinson, ATH, Good Counsel (Olney, MD)

Good Counsel blasted UVa-bound linebacker Kareem McDonald-led Wilson in its season opener. This past week’s game was much closer but the result the same, as the Falcons captured a 9-6 overtime win over St. Frances.

Next: Home versus Calvert Hall on Friday, September 12

Christopher Sharp, RB, The Hun School (Princeton, N.J.)

Next: Away versus Wyoming Seminary College Prep in its season opener on Saturday, September 20

Jahvoni Simmons, LB, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA)

The Dolphins (1-0) dispatched Tallwood, 69-0, in their season opener on August 28.

Next: Home versus Kellam on Friday, September 12

C.J. Stalker, LB, Lakota West (West Chester, OH)

Lakota West won a 49-46 shootout against Loveland on August 29. Stalker had four solo tackles plus five assisted tackles in the win. The Firebirds lost to Elder this past week, 51-21.

Next: Home versus Wayne on Friday, September 12

Juan Thornhill, DB, Altavista (VA)

Thornhill, who plays quarterback and free safety for Altavista, had 192 total yards (101 passing, 91 rushing) scored four touchdowns in his team’s season opening win over Prince George, 43-6. The Colonels, in search of their second straight state title, routed Randolph-Henry, 50-0, this past week. Randolph-Henry features UVa-bound junior Joseph Reed. Thornhill had a touchdown run in this game as well.
Altavista has a bye this week.

Next: Home versus Galax on Friday, September 19

James Trucilla, DT, Cathedral Prep (Erie, PA)

Cathedral Prep has captured victories in its first two games, defeating Glenville (Cleveland, OH) by 15 in the season opener before downing Strong Vincent by 36. Trucilla, an all-state defensive tackle last year, plays on both sides of the line for Cathedral Prep.

Next: Home versus McDowell on Friday, September 12

Olamide Zaccheaus, RB, St. Joseph’s (Philadelphia, PA)

Defending state champ St. Joseph’s Prep is 1-1 through two games, opening with a 28-27 win over Mount Carmel before falling to Don Bosco Prep, 35-7, this past week. Zaccheaus, an all-purpose performer from the tailback spot, had a 38-yard touchdown run and a 50-yard touchdown reception against Mount Carmel.

Next: Away versus St. Ignatius (Cleveland, OH) on Saturday, September 13

CLASS OF 2016

Cole Blackman, WR, Glen Allen (VA)

Glen Allen lost to Tucker, 46-8, last Friday. Blackman had three receptions for 58 yards and a 2-point conversion run in the Jaguars season opening win over Caroline on August 29.

Next: Away versus Mills Godwin

Joseph Reed, WR, Randolph-Henry (Charlotte Courthouse, VA)

Randolph-Henry has lost two straight to start the 2014 season. They’ll look to turn things around this Friday.

Next: Away versus Nottoway on Friday, September 12

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