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 South Aiken (Aiken, S.C.) senior Rasool Clemons, one of UVa’s most highly rated (and recruited) commits.
Clemons, a 6’6″, 210-pound defensive end prospect, surprised some when he verbally committed to the University of Virginia over offers from LSU and West Virginia, among others. The 247Sports.com 4-star recruit has played on South Aiken’s varsity squad since his sophomore year, when he arrived in South Carolina after moving from New Jersey.
The Thoroughbreds are 2-3 so far this season, losing last week to Spring Valley. They’ll look to rebound tomorrow night in a road matchup against Colleton County.
South Aiken head coach Jeremy West took some time to answer questions regarding his talented prospect, who projects as a defensive end or hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end recruit for UVa.
From what you have gathered, what were Rasool’s biggest reasons for choosing the Cavaliers?
Jeremy West: “I think the biggest thing is UVa was the first one to offer a couple of years ago. Also, he wanted to see every place before making his decision. I actually went on the visit to Virginia with him. It was the last week before the season started. He had a great visit with all the coaches. Coach London, he likes him a lot. He liked the atmosphere. The future’s bright. They are putting together a good recruiting class. Coach Hagans has done a good job of keeping up with him and recruiting him. Everybody thought Rasool would go in another direction, but he is not the type of kid that gets into being a 4-star or 5-star kid.”
How did Rasool end up in South Carolina?
Jeremy West: “His mom is from Aiken originally. They decided to move down before his sophomore year. He has family [in New Jersey]. He has family in North Carolina and South Carolina. At Virginia, family can be there to watch him play.”
Is Rasool solid in his decision? Has he closed off his recruitment?
Jeremy West: “I think he is pretty much finished. Schools have tried to call or have sent him some stuff, but he seems set on Virginia. If something goes wrong the rest of the season and Coach London isn’t there at the end of the year, maybe he looks around, but if everything stays intact I see him staying with his commitment. He really likes the coaches there.”
When you first laid eyes on Rasool on the gridiron, what were your impressions?
Jeremy West: “I was looking at putting him at wide receiver (laughs). The first scrimmage, he said he wanted to play defensive end. He really had never played football before until he got down here. We put him at defensive end and he made some plays. The first play his sophomore year, he sticks his paw up and intercepts a pass. I thought then that he could be really good. As time has gone on he has drawn double and triple teams, but he has invited that. It opens up things for other guys. He’ll play outside linebacker for us when we go to a 3-4. Sometimes we put him on the line of scrimmage. Sometimes he plays standing up off the edge. He can do it all.”
What was Rasool’s size when he arrived at South Aiken?
Jeremy West: “He was only about 6’4″, about 170 pounds then. He can use leverage. He has a six-foot-eleven wing span. He has always been able to use leverage and he uses those long arms to get leverage. He just has a God-given talent. He wasn’t the strongest guy, but he is successful because he knows how to use technique and leverage. He’s definitely a hard worker. He’s a leader by example. Rasool is the last person to leave the locker room. He really is a team guy.”
Does he play other sports?
Jeremy West: “He actually played volleyball back in New Jersey, but we don’t have that here. He doesn’t really like basketball. He messed around with track to work on his burst.”
Academically, how does he stand right now?
Jeremy West: “He is on track to get [to Virginia]. He’ll probably have to take the test a couple more times, but he is on track.”
HOW THE REST OF UVA’s CLASS OF 2015 PERFORMED LAST WEEK
– Ryan Bischoff, OL, Plymouth Whitemarsh (Plymouth Meeting, PA)
Make it three straight wins for Plymouth Whitemarsh, which is 3-2 after last week’s 42-27 win over Wissahickon.
Next: Away versus Upper Moreland on Thursday, October 2
– Richard Burney Jr., TE, Hickory (Chesapeake, VA)
Hickory played tough but ultimately fell to Grassfield, 27-17. The Hawks are 1-3.
Next: Away versus Great Bridge on Friday, October 3
– Tanner Cowley, TE, Manasquan (N.J.)
Manasquan shutout Holmdel, 21-0, for its second straight win. The team is 2-1 overall this season.
Next: Home versus Ocean Township on Thursday, October 2
– David Curry, S, Buford (GA)
Buford (4-0) had a bye last week.
Next: Away versus Chestatee on Friday, October 3
– David Eldridge III, WR, Kettle Run (Nokesville, VA)
Kettle Run blanked Skyline, 27-0, to even its record at 2-2. Eldridge III had only one catch for 12 yards in the victory. In four games, he has 16 receptions for 233 yards and a touchdown.
Next: Away versus Handley on Saturday, October 4
– Kareem Gibson, CB, Greater Johnstown (Johnstown, PA)
With last week’s 50-13 loss to Somerset, Greater Johnstown fell to 3-2 on the season. GJHS has lost two straight. Gibson is credited with 477 all-purpose yards (207 receiving, 153 on kick returns, 60 on punt returns, 29 rushing and 28 on and interception return) and four touchdowns, one interception and one pass deflection on the year.
Next: Away versus Richland on Friday, October 3
– Eli Hanback, OL/DT, Patrick Henry (Ashland, VA)
Patrick Henry fell to Mills Godwin, 27-5, and is now 1-3 on the season.
Next: Away versus Hermitage on Friday, October 3
– Nick Johns, QB, Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.)
Gonzaga dropped a 17-7 decision to Good Counsel in a matchup of two WCAC powers. In the loss, which was Gonzaga’s first of the year after reeling off four straight victories, Johns completed 13-of-20 passes for 129 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Johns also had 31 yards rushing on six carries.
On the season, Johns has accounted for 11 touchdowns (8 pass, 3 rush).
Next: Away versus Archbishop Carroll on Saturday, October 11
– Kareem McDonald, LB, Woodrow Wilson (Washington, D.C.)
Wilson lost to H.D. Woodson by a score of 42-23. The Tigers are 2-3.
Next: Home versus Ballou (Washington, D.C.) on Friday, October 3
– Gladimir Paul, DE, Northeast (Philadelphia, PA)
Northeast lost four straight to start the 2014 season before defeating Roxborough last Friday, 23-8. Paul has at least two sacks on the year.
Next: Away versus Martin Luther King on Saturday, October 3
– Grant Polk, OL, Charlotte (Punta Gorda, FL)
Last week’s scheduled game against Lakewood Ranch was cancelled. Charlotte (3-1) had a bye the previous week.
Next: Home versus Riverdale on Friday, October 3
– RJ Proctor, OL, Liberty (Bealeton, VA)
Broad Run scored the go-ahead touchdown with just eight seconds left to defeat a previously unbeaten Liberty squad, 38-35. Liberty is now 3-1.
Next: Away versus Sherando on Friday, October 3
– Myles Robinson, ATH, Good Counsel (Olney, MD)
As mentioned above, Good Counsel got the better of Gonzaga last Saturday, 17-7. Robinson, who could end up playing receiver or corner at Virginia, had only two receptions for 22 yards but had an important 4th down reception to give the Falcons a first down. Good Counsel (4-1) would score a touchdown on that drive and claim a 14-7 lead.
Next: Away versus DeMatha Catholic on Friday, October 3
– Christopher Sharp, RB, The Hun School (Princeton, N.J.)
The Hun School lost to Poly Prep Country Day, 34-7, to fall to 1-1.
Next: Home versus Germantown Academy on Thursday, October 2
– Jahvoni Simmons, LB, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA)
Ocean Lakes cruised to its fourth win in as many games, defeating Bayside last week by a score of 56-12. Through four games, Simmons has 32 total tackles (26 assists, 6 solo) including four tackles for loss. He has also blocked two field goals.
Next: Away versus Kempsville on Thursday, October 2
– C.J. Stalker, LB, Lakota West (West Chester, OH)
Colerain downed Lakota West, 30-21. Lakota West is now 2-3 but hosts a winless Hamilton squad this week.
Next: Home versus Hamilton on Friday, October 3
– Juan Thornhill, DB, Altavista (VA)
Altavista cruised to another win, defeating Appomattox 46-7. The Colonels’ (4-0) average margin of victory this season is 31.75 points. In last week’s win, Thornhill rushed 10 times for 137 yards and a 53-yard touchdown. He added a 62-yard touchdown pass and now has at least 11 touchdowns on the season.
Next: Away versus Gretna on Friday, October 3
– James Trucilla, DT, Cathedral Prep (Erie, PA)
Cathedral Prep edged Aquinas Institute, 16-12, to improve to 5-0.
Next: Home versus Central Tech on Friday, October 3
– Brandon Wilson, DE, West Orange (Winter Garden, FL)
West Orange handily defeated Jones, 50-14, to improve to 5-0 on the season. Wilson was averaging 9 tackles per game heading into last week’s contest.
Next: Home versus Apopka on Friday, October 3
– Olamide Zaccheaus, RB, St. Joseph’s (Philadelphia, PA)
St. Joseph’s Prep is now 1-3 after losing to St. Joseph Regional of New Jersey, 47-29. St. Joseph’s outscored St. Joseph’s Regional in quarters 2-4 but was outscored 27-0 in the first.
Next: Away versus Malvern Prep on Saturday, October 4
CLASS OF 2016
– Cole Blackman, WR, Glen Allen (VA)
Armstrong pulled away in the second half to claim a 36-21 win over Glen Allen last week. The Jaguars fall to 1-3.
Next: Away versus Highland Springs on Friday, October 3
– Joseph Reed, WR, Randolph-Henry (Charlotte Courthouse, VA)
After dropping four straight decisions to start the season, the Randolph-Henry Statesmen notched a 44-15 win over Cumberland last week. Reed had eight rushes for 195 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
Next: Home versus Buckingham on Friday, October 3