Josh Sweat commits Wednesday: Virginia Tech, Florida State or sleeper for top recruit?
Who will sign the nation’s No. 1 pass rusher?
Wednesday is an important day in the world of college football recruiting as Josh Sweat, of Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith High School will make his college choice at 10 a.m. ET. The five-star defensive end recruit is widely considered one of the top prospects in the country, rating No. 6 on the 247Sports composite rankings, and No. 1 overall weakside defensive ends.
Sweat sustained a serious knee injury early in his senior season, including a dislocation and a torn ACL. Sweat will likely not resume jogging or running until March or April. I saw Sweat in November, and he was able to walk some, though he was using a scooter for part of the day to get around a hilly campus in Tallahassee.
Prior to the injury, Sweat was the No. 1 prospect on the majority of evaluators’ lists. And for good reason(s) as I noted in my pre-injury scouting report.
First, Sweat has the desired size for a weak-side defensive end. At 6’5 and 230 or so pounds, Sweat has the length teams are looking for, and yet has room to add 20 pounds of muscle so that he won’t be a liability against the run.
But what really stands out about Sweat is the ridiculous, incredible burst that most great weak-side pass rushers. He explodes at the snap and overwhelms blockers with his speed. Defensive ends either have this or they don’t. And Sweat does.
And it’s not just the speed. Sweat converts speed to power quite well. That’s because he plays with solid bend and lean, driving through his hips and extending his arms. As Sweat matures as a pass rusher, he’ll be able to work better counter moves off that power and speed, swimming back to the inside.
No school backed off due to the surgery, and Sweat is expected to make a full recovery.
The contenders for Sweat, who has more than 40 offers, include Virginia Tech, Florida State, Ohio State, Georgia and Oregon.
Virginia Tech was the longtime favorite for Sweat’s signature. Sweat is a quiet kid and has made numerous trips to Blacksburg to see the Hokies, who have pitched him on staying close to home and being a leader on a typically nasty Virginia Tech defense. The Hokies have two defensive end commitments, but neither are in Sweat’s talent class.
But Virginia Tech’s disappointing 6-6 season may have opened the door for others. Sweat rescheduled, but eventually took his trips to see his other four finalists, where a variety of pitches were used on him, including a unique one given his injury situation: not having to play early — instead, coming in and developing at his own pace.
Sweat plays his cards close to his vest, but sources at Virginia Tech and Florida State both feel good about their chances, and the other three finalists cannot be counted out, either.
Sweat is an early-enrollee, and and will begin classes at the university of his choice in January.