2017 National Signing Day, Through Twitter

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Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson Hills, PA) linebacker prospect Zane Zandier and 20 more high school seniors made their college intentions official on National Signing Day, when they faxed in signed letters of intent with the University of Virginia.

February 1 was a day to celebrate the 21 newest Cavaliers. Four others were welcomed on Grounds last month as early enrollees. That group included 2016/2017 Virginia Football Gatorade Player of the Year Lamont Atkins, Zachariah Burton, legacy recruit Germane Crowell and Jamari Peacock.

Peacock, a 6’0”, 245-pound running back, hails from the same high school that produced former Alabama and current Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry. The latter expressed his excitement for the former in a tweet on January 19.

LEGACY

Crowell is a UVA legacy, following in the footsteps of his father, Germane, who starred at wide receiver under head coach George Welsh. Coach Mendenhall landed another legacy recruit in 2017 in Joey Blount, whose father starred at safety for the Wahoos in the late 1970s.

The younger Blount, a safety just like his dad, feels like a Virginia Cavalier already.

WOODBERRY FOREST

Woodberry Forest has produced major FBS athletes in recent years. However, before this year, Virginia hasn’t been able to capitalize. This year’s class was a different story as the Hoos reeled in consensus 3-star quarterback Lindell Stone, defensive end John Kirven, and wide receiver/defensive back Terrell Jana.

THE OFFENSIVE LINE

To the delight of offensive line coach Garett Tujague, the team’s biggest need was addressed this offseason with five recruits plus at least one graduate transfer. Former Notre Dame right guard Colin McGovern is the lone graduate transfer lineman announced by Virginia yesterday, though fellow former Notre Dame player John Montelus has committed and former Oklahoma State right tackle Brandon Pertile is very seriously considering the Hoos.

The five offensive line recruits include …

Tyler Fannin, center/offensive guard out of Georgia …

Solon (OH) guard/tackle Chris Glaser Jr., whose leadership skills are already on display …

Ryan Nelson, a 6’5”, 280-pound tackle out of Buena Park, California …

6’10”, 270-pound tackle Ryan Swoboda of Windermere, Florida was the first LOI to be announced on National Signing Day …

Last but not least, Virginia landed 6’5”, 280-pound offensive lineman Gerrik Vollmer, one of four prospects who joined the class within the final two weeks before National Signing Day. Vollmer’s Taft School (Watertown, CT) classmate and teammate Elliott Brown (OLB), Knoxville Central (Knoxville, TN) defensive lineman Isaac Buell, and Brunswick (GA) slot receiver/returner Shawn Smith were the others.

FORMER HOO PLEASED WITH TWO UVA SIGNINGS

Former UVA star defensive end Patrick Kerney hails from Taft School and took notice of Brown and Vollmer.

LATE ADDITIONS

Here are National Signing Day tweets on Buell and Smith …

TWO-SPORT STAR?

Shawn Smith and Good Counsel (Olney, MD) wideout Darnell Pratt Jr. are the two sure-fire receivers who signed with Virginia. The 6’3”, 170-pound Pratt is outstanding in track, too, and received a tweet of congratulations today from UVA Track and Field coach Bryan Fetzer. Might the Good Counsel product become a 2-sport star in Charlottesville?

MORE TWEETS

UVA addressed both sides of the line in this class. We mentioned some offensive line recruits above. Below are tweets from future Cavalier defensive linemen Mandy Alonso and Tommy Christ. Isaac Buell and John Kirven round out UVA’s defensive line haul.

Huge special teams needs this program faces include finding a consistent placekicker and replacing All-ACC punter Nicholas Conte. Westfield (Chantilly, VA) product Brian Delaney could be the answer at both spots.

Millbrook (Winchester, VA) star PK Kier joins Lamont Atkins and Jamari Peacock as UVA’s running back recruits. Atkins and Peacock are already enrolled, but all three players should be in the mix for immediate playing time next season.

UVA’s linebacker haul consists of 6’3″, 205-pound Zandier, 6’3, 225-pound Matt Gahm, and a pair of 6’6″ or 6’7″, 200-plus pound prospects in Elliott Brown and Charles Snowden. Tall, rangy, athletic players.

National Signing Day was a long time coming for cornerback Darrius Bratton, who committed to UVA when Mike London was head coach but did not sign a LOI last February. The former William Fleming (Roanoke, VA) standout attended Fork Union Military Academy for postgraduate work last fall and says he is good to go as far as enrolling on Grounds this summer.

READY TO WORK

UVA defensive coordinator Nick Howell hails this class’ work ethic, which will be highly important as Coach Mendenhall establishes this program’s foundation. There were some decommitments during this recruiting cycle, but all 21 players who were committed on the eve of National Signing Day followed through and signed with the Hoos.

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