Analyzing Talley’s final freshman class at Villanova
It has been two weeks since 17 high school seniors signed their National Letter of Intent to join head coach Andy Talley and Villanova football. This is it for Talley as he prepares for his 32nd and final season with the Wildcats before long time assistant Mark Ferrante can step into his position.
Although Talley has already acknowledged that many of the players may be projects that redshirt to develop for their first year, this class encourages Talley. He feels they have the potential to be true Villanova kids that step up once in an environment with coaching that benefits them.
In the past, Talley has taken risks and it has truly paid off. For instance in 1997, it was a leap of faith with Brian Westbrook who chose Villanova, but did not really have many options coming out of high school. Talley has had his share of success in recruiting. Like Westbrook, another Walter Payton Award winner he recruited was John Robertson.
Additionally, he was not wrong in any way when he picked up four-year starter and future second-round NFL draft pick and offensive lineman Ben Ijalana. Who could forget Matt Szczur, who wound up leading the Wildcats to a 2010 FCS national title before choosing to play Major League Baseball with the Chicago Cubs?
The Wildcats lost two players to FBS schools late in the recruiting process to Miami of Ohio and Syracuse. It is no secret to anyone that this is Talley’s last season as he has already discussed his stepping down to incoming players.
It is also evident that Talley has had his share of successful recruits and players come through his program. He brought in a class that is bigger, stronger, and faster. Talley brought in five to seven players who may be game ready this fall. He needed five offensive linemen and wide receivers so he added three players. All three receivers are fast. Changa Hodge and Zac Kerxton provide strong receivers and Josh McGrigg is a great receiver at turning short yard gains into touchdowns. The incoming offensive line is strong and will join a group of talented, experienced players at the position.
Next year the Wildcats are also bringing in a quarterback with Jack Schetelich. Although he may redshirt this year, he is a talent that is competitive enough to make an impact in his career. Walk on Drew Kresge will also be helpful is providing more competition for a role on the Wildcats that needs some help. McGrigg may also be able to help on the special teams, being involved in the kick and punt returns.
The Wildcats remain loaded in their defensive linemen positions as well as at linebacker, running back, and cornerback. They also bring in defensive back Terrell Vassel, who was highly sought after by the FBS to play defensive back. It will be interesting to see how Villanova looks next fall after a summer of training under their belt.
It is safe to assume Andy Talley will not leave his last year as anything less than the successful legacy he has had at Villanova.