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 defensive tackle James Trucilla, who watched a regular season game inside Scott Stadium for the first time last Saturday.
The 6’1″, 265-pound Trucilla is an all-state defensive tackle at Cathedral Prep (Erie, PA). He has helped the Ramblers to a 6-0 start to the 2014 season, including a 35-8 win over Central Tech last week. Through six games, Trucilla has 14 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Cathedral travels to St. Francis of Athol Springs, New York, this Saturday.
TheSabre: How was your first ever regular season game experience at UVa?
James Trucilla: “That was awesome. The fans were great. They were loud and excited. The energy was great. The campus is great. It’s a beautiful campus. After the game I got to go to the locker room to see Coach London talk. That was cool.
“My parents were supposed to go with me, but they went on another recruiting thing to Michigan with my sister. I really wanted to go because of Pitt and James Conner. I played against him many times in high school. I asked one of my coaches and he brought me and a buddy of mine down. It was important for me to see a game, so I’m glad I was able to make it.”
TheSabre: Did you just relax and watch the game or were you studying the defensive tackles?
James Trucilla: “A little bit of both. The biggest thing I was doing was comparing the way I play with what they were doing. They hold the line pretty well. They stunt a lot. When they are double and tripled teamed, they hold the line. Sometimes they clogged holes for the linebackers to make plays. People always want flash, but the defensive line also holds up linemen for the linebackers to make plays. I feel like I do that well for our team. The biggest thing I need to work on is my hands.”
TheSabre: What was your favorite part of the game?
James Trucilla: “I loved it when [Anthony Harris] sacked the quarterback. He was grabbing his jersey like he didn’t know if he would get him. He kept pursuing him and got him down.”
TheSabre: You mentioned James Conner. How did you do against him in high school?
James Trucilla: “He was a beast. He was always a big kid. The funny thing is, when I was a sophomore, we played against them and they had a fourth and one. I think I was playing nose. If they score, they probably win. Our games are really competitive. There are like 10 or 12 [thousand fans] at our games. It was fourth down and we got the stop. I got a piece of him.”
TheSabre: What do you like most about being a senior?
James Trucilla: “I like knowing where I’m going to college and having a leadership role in the school, being someone the younger kids look up to. I love that I get to play one more season with my friends.”
TheSabre: In what ways do you feel you have improved from last year?
James Trucilla: “I feel like I got bigger than last year. Every year, I’ve played kind of light. This year I’m up around 265 or 270. I feel huskier, stronger, and faster off the ball. I feel good. I feel like I need to play with my hands a lot more.”
TheSabre: Any thoughts on the possibility of seeing some playing time as a true freshman next season?
James Trucilla: “I’m going to come in and compete. When I was a sophomore here, I thought I could play. The Virginia coaches told me that if I can play they will play me. They won’t hold off. I’m going to compete and we’ll see what happens.”
HOW THE REST OF UVA’s CLASS OF 2015 PERFORMED LAST WEEK
– Ryan Bischoff, OL, Plymouth Whitemarsh (Plymouth Meeting, PA)
Bischoff and the rest of Plymouth Whitemarsh’s offensive line paved the way for 254 yards rushing in last week’s 33-20 win over Upper Moreland. The Colonials are 4-2.
Next: Away versus Upper Dublin on Friday, October 10
– Richard Burney Jr., TE, Hickory (Chesapeake, VA)
The Hawks are 1-4 after losing to Great Bridge, 28-7.
Next: Away versus Indian River on Friday, October 10
– Rasool Clemons, DE, South Aiken (Aiken, S.C.)
South Aiken has now lost two straight games after falling to Colleton County last week, 38-7. The Thoroughbreds are 2-4.
Next: Home versus River Bluff on Friday, October 10
– Tanner Cowley, TE, Manasquan (N.J.)
Manasquan’s defense was stiff once again, this time holding Ocean Township to single digits in a 14-7 win. After surrendering 41 points in a season opening loss to Raritan, the Big Blue (3-1) has allowed 13 points total the past three games.
Next: Away versus Barnegat on Friday, October 10
– David Curry, S, Buford (GA)
Buford blew away Chestatee, 54-7, to improve to 5-0 on the year. Curry returned a punt 35 yards to set up one of the Wolves’ scores.
Next: Home versus North Hall on Friday, October 10
– David Eldridge III, WR, Kettle Run (Nokesville, VA)
David Eldridge came to play on both sides of the ball last week, hauling in three receptions for 34 yards and intercepting two passes (he plays corner on defense) as Kettle Run (3-2) defeated Handley, 27-13. Eldridge has 19 catches for 267 yards and a touchdown this season.
Next: Home versus Fauquier on Friday, October 10
– Kareem Gibson, CB, Greater Johnstown (Johnstown, PA)
Greater Johnstown halted a 2-game losing skid with a 15-7 win over Richland. Gibson is credited with 485 all-purpose yards (215 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: Home versus Westmont Hilltop on Friday, October 10
– Eli Hanback, OL/DT, Patrick Henry (Ashland, VA)
Patrick Henry lost to Hermitage, 38-0. The Patriots are 1-4.
Next: Home versus JR Tucker on Friday, October 10
– Nick Johns, QB, Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.)
Gonzaga (4-1) had a bye this past week. Through five games, 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 a close one to Ballou, 16-10. The Tigers are 2-4.
Next: Home versus Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) on Friday, October 10
– Gladimir Paul, DE, Northeast (Philadelphia, PA)
Northeast lost in heartbreaking fashion last week. The Vikings (1-5) held a 42-21 lead in the third quarter but couldn’t hold on, ultimately falling in overtime to Martin Luther King, 50-49.
Paul put out senior year highlights just last night. Here they are…
Next: Home versus Abraham Lincoln on Friday, October 10
– Grant Polk, OL, Charlotte (Punta Gorda, FL)
Charlotte defeated Riverdale, 46-21. The Fightin’ Tarpons are now 4-1. Charlotte junior receiver Trevor Laurent called Polk “a monster” on the line in this write-up of last week’s win.
Next: Home versus American on Friday, October 10
– RJ Proctor, OL, Liberty (Bealeton, VA)
Liberty bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 28-14 win at Sherando. The Eagles improve to 4-1 on the year.
Next: Home versus Culpeper on Friday, October 10
– Myles Robinson, ATH, Good Counsel (Olney, MD)
Make it two straight big wins to open WCAC play for Good Counsel, which defeated rival DeMatha Catholic, 21-14, last week. The Falcons (5-1) downed Gonzaga the previous week.
Next: Home versus Bishop McNamara on Friday, October 10
– Christopher Sharp, RB, The Hun School (Princeton, N.J.)
A 28-point second quarter fueled The Hun School on to a 42-21 victory over Germantown Academy. Sharp rushed for 132 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries, adding 31 yards on two receptions as well. On the year, the future Hoo has rushed 40 times for 368 yards and seven scores.
Hun is now 2-1 on the season.
Next: Home versus Blair Academy on Saturday, October 11
– Jahvoni Simmons, LB, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA)
Ocean Lakes is 5-0 after last week’s blowout victory over Kempsville. Simmons had three assisted tackles in the win, giving him 35 tackles with four tackles for loss on the season. He has also blocked two field goals.
Next: Away versus Cox on Friday, October 10
– C.J. Stalker, LB, Lakota West (West Chester, OH)
Stalker had 11 solo tackles — 15 in total — as Lakota West rolled to a 49-21 win over Hamilton. The Firebirds are now 3-3.
Next: Away versus Sycamore on Friday, October 10
– Juan Thornhill, DB, Altavista (VA)
Thornhill rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns, threw for a touchdown, and took a shovel pass 70 yards for another score in Altavista’s 38-0 win over Gretna. The Colonels are a perfect 5-0 heading into this week’s matchup against Virginia Tech-bound Tremaine Edmunds and the Dan River Wildcats.
Next: Home versus Dan River on Friday, October 10
– Brandon Wilson, DE, West Orange (Winter Garden, FL)
West Orange rallied from a 16-7 second quarter deficit to defeat Apopka, 45-31, and remain undefeated at 6-0.
Next: Home versus Cypress Creek on Friday, October 10
– Olamide Zaccheaus, RB, St. Joseph’s (Philadelphia, PA)
St. Joseph’s Prep defeated Malvern Prep, 49-28, ending a 3-game losing streak. The Hawks are 2-3. In the win, Zaccheaus had eight carries for 48 yards and a touchdown. He added 20 yards receiving and a 2-point conversion run as well.
Next: Home versus La Salle College on Friday, October 10
CLASS OF 2016
– Cole Blackman, WR, Glen Allen (VA)
Glen Allen fell to central Virginia power Highland Springs, 45-3. The Jaguars have now lost four straight after winning its season opener.
Next: Home versus Lee-Davis on Friday, October 10
– Joseph Reed, WR, Randolph-Henry (Charlotte Courthouse, VA)
Randolph-Henry lost to Buckingham, 61-9, to fall to 1-5 on the year.
Next: Away versus Prince Edward on Friday, October 10