One name I haven’t seen a lot of places is B.J. Farrow, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound rising senior at Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg.
“Hands down, Farrow is the best we’ve ever had,” LCA coach Frank Rocco said. “This will be my 10th year [at LCA] and in high-school coaching, it’s been 25 years. He’s the best high-school receiver I’ve ever coached.”
Liberty University is the only program that has offered Farrow a scholarship to this point.
“Virginia and Virginia Tech are both very close,” Rocco said. “They won’t pull the trigger. He’s going to be an 11th-hour qualifier, but he’s going to make it.
“He’s going to need all four of his senior-year core courses and he’s going to need all C’s and above. He’s not a slam-dunk academic kid but he will make it and certainly Virginia and Virginia Tech have offered kids in the past with the same status that they send to Fork Union.”
Rocco spoke Friday as he was driving a van full of players to a 7-on-7 passing camp at Wake Forest.
“Wake’s recruiting him, so we’re going to be down here today,” Rocco said, “and then Virginia Tech’s got a one-day thing tomorrow and something may come up there, too.”
The Hokies have a wide receiver from LCA on their roster, Demitri Knowles, a redshirt sophomore originally from Freeport, Bahamas. Knowles had 19 receptions last year and ranked 12th in FBS in kickoff returns.
Rocco took players to a recent 7-on-7 camp at UVa and said that Farrow was the best receiver on the field for the third year in a row.
“Absolutely!” Rocco said. “Dex and Hagans are wanting to pull the trigger.”
The reference was to UVa assistants Anthony Poindexter and Marques Hagans.
“I guess there are some questions about [UVa’s] numbers and obviously the academic thing is a little concern but I think that will work itself out,” Rocco said.
FARROW WOULDN’T be the first LCA player to commit for 2014. Richmond took a commitment last week from Blane Markham, a 6-5, 270-pound offensive lineman who will play for Rocco’s brother, Danny, the Spiders’ head coach.
Frank Rocco also believes that 5-11, 190-pound strong safety Josh Barrick can be a scholarship player. Barrick plays shortstop for the LCA baseball team and was a first-team all-state selection at the highest level (VISAA Division I).
“He’s really put all of his energy and all of his eggs into baseball,” Rocco said. “He’s getting [football] interest, but if he did a little more with football, his ceiling would be, in my opinion, a lot higher. There are a lot more opportunities.”
IT WAS HARD to talk to Rocco without asking his opinion on developments at Virginia, where quarterback Phillip Sims was declared academically ineligible at the beginning of the summer.
Sims shared playing time with Rocco’s son last year at Virginia, where Michael Rocco requested a release following the 2012 season. Michael Rocco subsequently transferred to Richmond but learned that he would not be available to play next season because he had not graduated from UVa.
Michael Rocco, who has one year of eligibility remaining, can play for the Spiders in 2014.
“There isn’t a rule that applied to him,” Rocco said. “They just lumped him with other I-A to I-AA transfers. On Sept. 3, the NCAA is voting on an addendum to that rule that would make Mike’s situation eligible, but they were unwilling to have a precedent back in February or March, back when they were ruling on his case.
“It was a perfect storm of all these different criteria that worked against him.”
So, what if the addendum is approved Sept. 3? Could Michael Rocco play then?
“He would become immediately eligible,” Frank Rocco said, “but you’ve already gone through a spring and summer camp of him not getting first-team reps.
“You don’t, all of a sudden, go into the regular season and say, ‘OK, you’re ready to go.’ I think, at this point, you’re too far into it.. He’ll just redshirt and get bigger, faster, stronger and play next year.”
I COULDN’T PASS up the opportunity to get Frank Rocco’s take on developments with Sims. If Sims had never transferred from Alabama to UVa, or if the Roccos had known in December that Sims would not be back, how might things have been different?
“We talk about that,” Frank Rocco said. “People were talking about dysfunction [at UVa] but nobody really wanted to qualify it. Then, you get a [Clifton] Richardson leaving and your two quarterbacks leaving. It’s a shame.
“There are a lot of good kids [at UVa] and good people there. I wish them the best, but there’s so much more to football than just 5-stars from the beach area.”
And Farrow, in Rocco’s eyes, would be a pretty good example.