- - Saturday, March 31, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Greyson Lambert didn’t even need to throw a pass to get the attention of his new teammates.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound freshman quarterback from Georgia has turned heads at Virginia’s spring football practices with his size alone.

“He looks like an NFL quarterback already,” receiver Dominique Terrell said.

That’s exactly what offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has been waiting to hear, having set out this past offseason to recruit elite quarterbacks into the Cavaliers’ system.

Don’t plan on seeing Lambert this fall, though. Coaches have made clear Michael Rocco remains the team’s starter, and David Watford is the backup. Lambert will get snaps with the third team in spring workouts.

For Lazor, though, bringing in a quarterback with Lambert’s size and strength is a step toward something he told coach Mike London before he was hired.

“I said, ‘In my mind, we should always have a great quarterback at Virginia,’” Lazor recalled. “It’s a great campus, great location, the weather’s great, high academics, playing in the ACC. I went on this whole list of things we have. There’s other schools in the country that have a similar profile, and you see they have a track record of great quarterbacks.”

Landing Lambert took more than just a brochure, though. The Georgia native was on a tour of colleges with his dad this summer, and U.Va. was on their itinerary.

The Wahoos weren’t the front-runner, as SEC schools, including Georgia and Alabama, were recruiting him.

When Lambert arrived in Charlottesville, Va., he joined Lazor in the coach’s office, where they watched game tape from U.Va.’s past season.

“It just clicked,” Lazor said. “We were in there a long time. I like football, and I like the techniques, so I enjoy being with someone else like Greyson who also does. The conversation just flowed — here’s how we train, here’s what we do.”

Also helpful were Lazor’s NFL files from his time working with Jason Campbell and Matt Hasselbeck. He showed Lambert how the league’s top quarterbacks learn.

That was enough to hook the high schooler, who said he was ready to commit on the drive home.

He’s drawn plenty of attention already this spring for his ability to throw rockets with his right arm, though his command of the offense still is a few steps behind Rocco’s and Watford‘s. Lambert hasn’t yet done interviews, since he has a class that begins shortly after the team’s morning practices end, which is the time reserved for media.

Lazor has his own expectations for the youngster, once based on his belief U.Va. is an elite destination.

“They’ve got to be capable of becoming the face of the program,” the coordinator said. “I think the Virginia alumni expect that when the Virginia starting QB stands up and talks to an alumni group, or talks on TV, that he represents what they want this school to be in the way he presents himself and carries himself.

“We want the ultimate guy, and we’re going to recruit that way.”

That’s a lot of pressure, but it’s a burden Lambert won’t have to worry about for a little while as he continues to gain experience working with the third string.

Enrolling a semester early, though, will only increase his exposure, both to the offense and fans eager for an elite signal-caller.

Read about the Cavaliers at TimesDispatch.com



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