Brennan Schmidt: Into the Game

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Virginia defensive end Brennan Schmidt was very pleased to have helped his coaches and teammates defeat in-state rival Virginia Tech. As a member of Al Groh’s first recruiting class in 2001, it is only fitting that Schmidt would help the Cavalier helmsman obtain his first victory over Tech since his arrival in Charlottesville three years ago.


Despite posting huge numbers in high school, Schmidt was overlooked by the UVa coach George Welsh. Schmidt lettered three years, at three different schools. He was team captain and team MVP playing tight end and defensive tackle as a senior for head coach Bill McGregor at DeMatha (Hyattsville, MD), where he recorded 110 tackles, including 21 sacks, while nabbing five fumble recoveries.


Schmidt, from a family of ten, was rated the No.9 prospect in Maryland by SuperPrep and received twelve Division I-A scholarship offers, but he received little to no interest from the Cavaliers up until Groh was introduced as Virginia’s new coach on January 5, 2001.


Schmidt had visited Syracuse, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Northwestern and Virginia Tech, before eliminating those five and taking unofficial visits to UVa and Boston College, where his brother, J.D., was a redshirt freshman linebacker in 2000.


“We were torn in so many ways,” said Brennan’s father, Bob Schmidt, who played quarterback at Southern California from 1958-60. “I think it helped Virginia that Brennan knew coach [Mike] London from Boston College and that coach London [would be] his position coach at Virginia.”


“I kind of knew what was going on here, and I knew Al Groh from the NFL,” said Schmidt. “London recruited me and he had recruited my brother to BC. I knew he was a great guy and I liked him a lot, but I didn’t really have any idea where they were going to put me.”


Schmidty, as referenced to by his teammates, has practiced at nose guard and defensive end during his young career, but specializes as an end in Groh’s 3-4 defensive alignment with a two-gap technique.


In a base 4-3, defensive ends are charged with containment, typically playing head-up to the tight end or outside shoulder to the offensive tackle, i.e., negating sweeps, tosses, rollouts, and option plays

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