Yodny Cajuste is following his high school coach, Damon Cogdell, to West Virginia. That's the easy summation for his recruitment, but there's more to it that that. It was Cogdell who talked the athletic big man into playing football in the first place, but once he began he found he liked the contact and the physical nature of the game. In fact, he liked it enough to give up his dreams of college basketball and follow the gridiron path.
It probably took a lot to do that, and it shows that football isn't just a casual thing for West Virginia's 20th member of the Class of 2014.
WHAT TO LIKE:
In a word, it's athleticism. That 11-letter descriptor gets thrown around ad infinitum these days, but it's the best way to sum up the Patriot standout. Cajuste moves very well. His kick step in pass protection, while still a bit mechanical, shows the ability to cover ground and keep balance while getting to his spot.
He also runs better than most linemen, and gets downfield to the second level in a hurry. Once there, he has the speed and quickness to catch and keep up with defenders, who aren't typically able to run around him to get to the ball. Finally, he shows a bit of an edge, and finished several blocks on the video we watched by putting his opponent on the ground.
POSSIBLE CONCERNS: The lack of experience, as he has just one year of playing time, is the thing that jumps off the page in looking at his current status.
As noted above, Cajuste is still working to smooth and streamline his drop into pass protection, but a look at several Miramar pass plays shows that he has the right idea. He's using a kickstep and dropping back the way you want to see offensive linemen perform -- he just needs more reps to smooth it out and make it more automatic.
The other item to note is that West Virginia could well look at him as a defensive lineman first, where the Mountaineers need more help. He didn't get nearly as many reps on that side of the ball as he did at offensive tackle, so it's tough to get an overall view of how he uses his skills there. Still, Cogdell had a year to watch him on the field, so he obviously saw enough to think he had a chance to help the Mountaineers.
As a two-way player, Cajuste has the chance to make an impression on either line, but given WVU's numbers and depth on both units, it would figure that he will get his first look on the defensive front. He has the big build to stand up to power blocking schemes, and the height to get his hands up in passing lanes and distract opposing quarterbacks. He also has long arms, with the proper teaching and work should be able to gain leverage on opposing blockers and keep them from locking on to him in one-on-one situations.
In a way, his newness to the game might turn out to be an advantage, as he won't have to unlearn many bad habits, especially as a defensive lineman. He's going to need a couple years of work before he has the chance to have an impact on the field, but in reality, that's true for most line recruits.