Feb. 4, 2010
11:48 a.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The nation’s top high school football team in 2009, according to USA Today’s rankings, was Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey, N.J.

The best players for the Ironmen — great nickname, by the way — included Ryan Cobb, a 6-0, 220-pound senior who signed Wednesday with U.Va.

During his career at Don Bosco, from which current UVa baseball standout Steven Proscia graduated, Cobb played cornerback, safety, defensive end, middle linebacker, slot receiver and tight end.

His position at UVa?

Stay tuned.

On the weekend last month when most of UVa’s 2010 recruits were in town for their official visits, new coach Mike London recalled Wednesday, “I had all the players stand up, introduce themselves, their parents, where they’re from.

“Ryan stood up and said, “I’m a linebacker/fullback, but I’ll play whatever you want me to play, Coach.’ Obviously, I appreciated that. You appreciate players that will go anywhere and play anywhere … We’re looking forward to holding Ryan to his words and putting him in positions that can help us win.”

Another recruit, Chris Brathwaite, has impressed London with a similar attitude. It’s too early to say where the 6-1, 250-pound Brathwaite will line up in UVa’s new 4-3 defense — he’ll be a defensive end or a linebacker — but “he’s all gung-ho about wherever we put him,” London said.

“He wants to play. It goes back to what we said about Cobb: ‘Coach put me somewhere. I just want to play.'”

Brathwaite lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., but attends Holy Cross High in Queens. That’s the same school from which Willie Dersch, Kevin Ogletree and Sylven Landesberg graduated before enrolling at UVa.

In 2009, Brathwaite was named to the New York Daily News’ All-City team as a defensive lineman. He also received the Vincent O’Connor Award as the top defensive player in the Catholic High School Football League’s Class AAA.

Jeff White

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