Hello Wahoo fans! Back from my little hiatus. And to be honest, not a whole lot has been going on. Well, at least sports wise (thanks Board of Visitors). But it’s time to dust off the ole MacBook and get back into the swing of things.
If you have been following the recruiting, Mike London has been red hot as of late. Over the month of June, the Hoos have pulled in 6 recruits, filling a lot of needs. So why the surge so early? It’s all about numbers. In Mike’s first two classes, he has grabbed 27 and 26 recruits, respectively, and with a max of 85 scholarships available, it’s not hard to see you can’t ‘max out’ classes every year. So the workable number this year, without attrition or players leaving, is around 18. Virginia was sitting on 9 at the beginning of June, but as that number started to rise, prospects have been pulling the trigger to make sure that they are included in the mix. Sure there are a few spots open, and a few spots which will always be open, but the end is closer than ever, and conceivably be done before the Richmond football game.
So how has/will it go down? Let’s look at the class by position.
In The Fold: Brendan Marshall (MD, Good Counsel); Corwin Cutler (VA, Ocean Lakes)
Recruiting Grade: B-
Coming into this year, you had to be optimistic with 3 nationally ranked quarterbacks in the state of Virginia, but the Hoos were unable to land any of them. With Ryan Burns (Stanford), Christian Hackenberg (Penn State), and Bucky Hodges (VT) heading elsewhere, Virginia ended up taking the next 2 biggest signal callers in the area. If it wasn’t for the ‘Big 3’, Corwin Cutler would be a massive commodity for most teams in the country. He is a solid to high 3-star pro style quarterback and has been compared to Aaron Brooks with a above average arm and the ability to move the pocket and run 2nd. Marshall is no slouch either, and will be front and center on the national stage as the leader of what is sure to be a Top 15 team nationally this year at Good Counsel.
What has me perplexed is now this puts 7 QBs on the 2013 roster, with the addition of Lambert and Johns in 2012 and the transfer of Sims in the off season. With a very small class size, Virginia would have liked to take 1 and been done, even though it looks more and more like they would have taken 2 either way. I’m not saying that either Marshall or Cutler won’t be a very good option down the road and I understand the need to take a QB each year. But by missing out on a top heavy state quarterback class coupled with a smaller class, it does leave me with a little bit of an uneasy feeling.
In the Fold: None
TBD: Taquan Mizzell (VA, Bayside); Daniel Reid (VA, Thomas Dale), Josh Marriner (VA, Western Branch)
Recruiting Grade: A+; C-
It is not a mystery that there is a spot open for Smoke if he wants it. With the thought that the state’s best player, Derrick Green, is heading elsewhere, Virginia has put themselves in an all-or-something position with Mizzell. And with the feedback from Taquan, the Hoos feel comfortable that they have a better than average chance to land the high 4-star product from VA Beach, bordering on an almost certain lock for his services. If, for some reason, London can’t land Smoke, there are some decent options in state like Reid, who holds an offer, and Marriner, who does not, but nothing like Taquan. The consensus is that if Virginia misses on Mizzell, it will be a big blow to rounding out the overall class.
In the Fold: Andre Levrone (MD, Good Counsel), Zack Jones (VA, Oscar Smith), Keeon Johnson (NC, Brown)
Recruiting Grade: A
Virginia locked up a very good mix of WRs in this class with Jones (the brother of Perry Jones) as a speed guy, and Levrone and Johnson as bigger possession guys with decent speed. This was not an area of need for UVa as UVa has a lot on the roster already. And with Virginia being relatively thin at wideout, they did better than average job going out of state, including going into the Tar Heel state and plucking one under UNC’s nose and taking another from the powerhouse Good Counsel clan.
In the Fold: None
Recruiting Grade: N/A
Hoos went after some bigger names early, but had backed off as of recent as numbers become tight. With the class the way it is shaping up, I’m okay without a tight end in this class, but it will become imperative that the Hoos pick one up next year.
In the Fold: Sadiq Olanrewaju (CT, Salisbury School), Jack McDonald (MA, BC High), Brad Henson (NJ, Monsignor Donovan)
Recruiting Grade: A-/B+
Always got to take the big uglies. I would not complain one bit if Virginia took 5 a class, but numbers, numbers, numbers. While Virginia was going after some bigger names in state this year and missing on Osterloh and Pfaff to Virginia Tech, they recovered nicely by going to the northeast well. While in-state media will point to that fact as a negative, some of the best O-line players in UVa and ACC history have come from the northeast, including former #1 overall national recruit Eugene Monroe and current Hoo Oday Aboushi. A good mix of players that can play tackle or guard should continue to bolster an already stable pen for UVa.
In the Fold: Donta Wilkins (VA, Dumfries)
TBD: Tevin Montgomery (MA, Tabor Academy)
Grade: A; A+
London needed a big DT in this class. When all is said and done, he could have two. Wilkins is a huge pickup and is one that should see that DL rotation very early in his career. Depending on how the rest of the class plays out, there should be a spot of Montgomery, and UVa is pressing as they are keeping one open for him. If they can land Tevin as well, they will rival the Hoos 2011 class in this position's haul.
In the Fold: Jack English (VA, St. Christopher’s)
TBD: Wyatt Teller (VA, Liberty)
Recruiting Grade: C+; A
The only ‘huh’ of this class so far has been the inclusion of English. By the sound of it, they really have done their homework and think they have found an under-the-radar type of guy. Virginia didn’t really need a ton of ends this year with last years massive class, but wrapping up Teller should be viewed just as important as grabbing Smoke.
In the Fold: Micah Kiser (MD, Gilman School), LaChaston Smith (NC, South Iredell)
TBD: Oren Burks (VA, South County)
Recruiting Grade: B; B+
One of the two biggest needs in this class was at the linebacker slot. Virginia has 2 very, very solid players in Kiser and Smith who will get shots early on for the 2 deep. Virginia lost out on a lot of big state prospects this year (Levenberry and Randolph) and while the Hoos were making their big haul this past week, 2 more big names out of state, well, went out of state. The only name really left on the Hoos list is Oren Burks, and that one is at best a 50/50 shot. I think the Hoos need 1 more in this class, and I’m hopeful they are working on someone outside of the known. Again, we need a ton of guys, but will settle for 1 more quality guy.
In the Fold: Kirk Garner (MD, Good Counsel), Hipolito Corporan (TX, Westside), Tim Harris (VA, Varina)
In the Fold: None.
Recruiting Grade: A+
If you have been following this blog, you know how much I have dinged the secondary. Well after I might not have the chance to do so in the future. With 3 Tra-like backs, this could be the start of something good in Charlottesville. From start to finish, Virginia went after, and got, who they wanted, and you can’t find fault in that at all. Great job all around.
If the class wrapped up today, you could say it was extremely solid and it mostly addressed the teams biggest needs. Hoos needed big DT, LB, DB classes and have done a great to superb job at that. They also solidified OL and WR depth while picking up 2 signal callers to get in the mix in a few years. But I know London isn’t done, or satisfied. To even start to compare this class to London’s other two in regards to ‘best’, Virginia needs to add Smoke at RB, Teller at DE, and Burks at LB AND/OR Montgomery at DT. That will put the class at 18-19 and close out the class for sure. With those 4 talking about wrapping up their recruiting by the end of the summer, look for Virginia to have a relaxing football season.