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 Kettle Run (Nokesville, VA) wide receiver David Eldridge III.
Eldridge, a 6’1″, 165-pound senior, is one of Virginia’s most underrated recruits. He is every bit of 6’1″ with good length, good hands, and the speed to break big plays. Eldridge stood out to me during UVa’s 7-on-7 tournament this past summer. Granted it’s only 7-on-7, but he consistently made plays on offense and showed some good things on defense as well.
Eldridge has at least 20 receptions for 294 yards and two touchdowns this season. He has returned one punt for a touchdown and has also picked off four passes. Kettle Run lost two of its first three games to start the 2014 season, but the Cougars have won three straight including a 38-14 win over Fauquier this past week.
TheSabre: Good catching up with you again. It has been a while since you committed to Virginia. Are you still solid to the Hoos? Are any other schools still pursuing you?
David Eldridge III: “I’m still solidly committed to the Hoos, but West Virginia, Georgia, Louisville and ECU still send letters every other day.”
TheSabre: In what ways are you a better player this year than you were this time last year?
David Eldridge III: “I’ve really stepped up my defensive game lately. Coach told me on offense I am a D1 receiver and teams know about me. He said I’ll probably get double-teamed, which I do every game. That leaves other people open. I’m more of a team player. I know it’s not all about me. I just try and run routes hard, block for my teammates, and create if I get in open space. If I get it in open space, I tend to do very well with it. On defense I have four interceptions. Coach tells me I’ve been playing really good defense. I’m pretty good on special teams, so most teams don’t kick it to me. I’ve returned three punts for touchdowns. Two of them were called back, so only one counted.”
TheSabre: I was impressed with your play at cornerback this past summer. Has UVa mentioned the possibility of you playing defense?
David Eldridge III: “We’ve just talked about receiver. Anything they want me to play, I’m up for it. When I get there, whatever they want me to do, I’ll do it. My coaches and teammates and friends joke with me that if I keep playing corner like I am, I’m going to end up on defense.”
TheSabre: What is your take on UVa — specifically, the receivers — so far this season?
David Eldridge III: “The receivers are doing good. I see the true freshman, Dowling, doing pretty good. Overall I think the defense has really stepped up. They know each other and have good chemistry. The offense is picking it up game by game. I think they could get more speed, get more up-tempo, and try a deep ball every once in a while.”
TheSabre: You mentioned Doni Dowling. What are your hopes in terms of getting playing time next season?
David Eldridge III: “Everyone wants to play immediately. It’s up to the coaching staff. If they feel I can contribute, I will do what they tell me. I know it’s a whole different game style on the next level. You are playing against D1 players. I think about it sometimes, but whatever the coaches think is best for me is what I’ll do.”
TheSabre: I know you have been to a few of Virginia’s games. What is your favorite part of the Virginia home football game experience?
David Eldridge III: “I like going into the locker room and hearing Coach London. I think he’s a phenomenal speaker and coach. He talks about life lessons and not just about football. He is about creating young men and family. I like seeing him talk to the players before the game and how hyped up they get. After, if they win, I like the countdown they do. Some players stay in the back so they don’t get wet, but some just don’t care. It’s pretty cool thing. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
TheSabre: Who are some of your favorite players?
David Eldridge III: “I’ve always liked Tavon Austin and DaSean Jackson. I kind of like special teams and getting the ball in space, making things happen. Those are two players I really like. I like Braxton Miller. He is not playing right now, but I’ve always liked him as a player. I was a huge Reggie Bush fan when he was in college. I’m from Southern California. (Eldridge moved with his parents from California to Virginia when he was seven years old.)”
TheSabre: What do you hope to be doing once you’ve graduated from UVa?
David Eldridge III: “I’m hoping to be good enough to get drafted into the NFL. If I’m not, a degree from UVa sets you up for life.”
TheSabre: Having lived on the West and East coast, do you have a preference?
David Eldridge III: “I kind of like the warm weather, so I might like to get back to the West Coast. If I get drafted, the team I’m playing for is obviously paying me, so I’d live wherever.”
HOW UVA’s CLASS OF 2015 PERFORMED LAST WEEK
– Ryan Bischoff, OL, Plymouth Whitemarsh (Plymouth Meeting, PA)
A touchdown in the last minute gave Upper Dublin a 34-28 win over Plymouth Whitemarsh, which had won 25 straight Suburban One League American Conference contests heading into the matchup. The Colonials (4-3) also had a 4-game winning streak snapped.
Next: Home versus Hatboro-Horsham on Friday, October 17
– Richard Burney Jr., TE, Hickory (Chesapeake, VA)
Hickory (1-5) was blanked by Indian River, 34-0.
Next: Home versus Lakeland on Friday, October 17
– Rasool Clemons, DE, South Aiken (Aiken, S.C.)
South Aiken lost to River Bluff, 23-13. The Thoroughbreds have lost three straight to fall to 2-5 on the year. Clemons sat out the first of those losses with a head injury but returned the next week, racking up 15 tackles in a losing effort.
Next: Home versus Irmo on Friday, October 17
– Tanner Cowley, TE, Manasquan (N.J.)
Manasquan lost to Barnegat, 24-14, to fall to 3-2.
Next: Home versus Rumson-Fair Haven on Saturday, October 18
– David Curry, S, Buford (GA)
Buford shutout North Hall, 56-0, to remain undefeated at 6-0.
Next: Away versus Monroe Area on Friday, October 17
– David Eldridge III, WR, Kettle Run (Nokesville, VA)
Kettle Run (4-2) scored 28 points in the third quarter en route to a 38-14 win over Fauquier. Eldridge had a 27-yard touchdown reception in the win. He now has at least 20 receptions for 294 yards and two touchdowns on the year.
Next: Away versus Culpeper on Friday, October 17
– Kareem Gibson, CB, Greater Johnstown (Johnstown, PA)
A 20-point third quarter sparked Greater Johnstown (5-2) on to a 48-24 win over Westmont Hilltop. Gibson had 79 all-purpose yards (41 receiving, 38 rushing) and a receiving touchdown in the win.
Next: Home versus Forest Hills on Friday, October 17
– Eli Hanback, OL/DT, Patrick Henry (Ashland, VA)
Patrick Henry is 2-4 following a 27-13 win over J.R. Tucker.
Next: Away versus Thomas Jefferson on Saturday, October 18
– Nick Johns, QB, Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.)
Johns completed 8-of-12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown as Gonzaga romped over Carroll, 49-8. He now has 12 touchdowns on the season, including nine scores through the air and three on the ground. Gonzaga is 5-1.
Next: Home versus O’Connell on Saturday, October 18
– Kareem McDonald, LB, Woodrow Wilson (Washington, D.C.)
Wilson cruised to a 44-6 win over Coolidge to improve to 3-4.
Next: Away versus Anacostia (Washington, D.C.) on Friday, October 17
– Gladimir Paul, DE, Northeast (Philadelphia, PA)
Northeast earned its second win of 2014 last week, shutting out Lincoln 38-0. The Vikings are 2-5.
Next: Away versus Frankford on Saturday, October 18
– Grant Polk, OL, Charlotte (Punta Gorda, FL)
Charlotte lost to American, 29-12, to fall to 4-2 on the year.
Next: Home versus Fort Myers on Friday, October 17
– RJ Proctor, OL, Liberty (Bealeton, VA)
Liberty downed Culpeper, 45-6, for its fifth win in six games.
Next: Away versus Brentsville District on Friday, October 17
– Myles Robinson, ATH, Good Counsel (Olney, MD)
The Falcons improved to 3-0 in the WCAC and 6-1 overall with a 45-21 win over Bishop McNamara.
Next: Away versus St. John’s on Saturday, October 18
– Christopher Sharp, RB, The Hun School (Princeton, N.J.)
Sharp had 11 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including one that went for 99 yards, as The Hun School defeated Blair Academy, 46-16. Sharp added a reception for 30 yards in the win.
Hun School is 3-1.
Next: Away versus Hill School (Pottstown, PA) on Saturday, October 18
– Jahvoni Simmons, LB, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA)
Ocean Lakes handled a good Cox squad, 55-21, to improve to 6-0 on the season. Simmons had 7 tackles, including one that went for a loss, and forced a fumble in the win.
Next: Home versus First Colonial on Friday, October 17
– C.J. Stalker, LB, Lakota West (West Chester, OH)
The Firebirds are 4-3 after last week’s road win over Sycamore.
Next: Home versus Mason on Friday, October 17
– Juan Thornhill, DB, Altavista (VA)
Thornhill’s two touchdown runs (17, 3) were the only scores of the game as Altavista stayed undefeated with a 14-0 win over Dan River. The Colonels are now 6-0.
Next: Home versus Nelson County on Friday, October 17
– James Trucilla, DT, Cathedral Prep (Erie, PA)
Cathedral Prep defeated St. Francis, 49-14. The Ramblers are now 7-0.
Next: Away versus General McLane on Friday, October 17
– Brandon Wilson, DE, West Orange (Winter Garden, FL)
West Orange is 7-0 after blowing out Cypress Creek, 63-6. The Warriors outscored Cypress 42-0 in the first quarter.
Next: Away versus Olympia on Friday, October 17
– Olamide Zaccheaus, RB, St. Joseph’s (Philadelphia, PA)
The Hawks (3-3) rallied from a 10-point third quarter deficit to capture a 35-31 win over La Salle College. Zaccheaus had a 5-yard touchdown run in the win.
Next: Away versus Father Judge on Saturday, October 18
CLASS OF 2016
– Cole Blackman, WR, Glen Allen (VA)
Glen Allen is 1-5 following last week’s 10-6 loss to Lee-Davis.
Next: Away versus Atlee on Friday, October 17
– Joseph Reed, WR, Randolph-Henry (Charlotte Courthouse, VA)
Reed rushed 10 times for 55 yards, but Randolph-Henry lost to Prince Edward by a score of 47-21. The Statesmen drop to 1-6.
Next: Home versus Lunenburg Central on Friday, October 17