Coming off a 2-10 season in 2016, Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall and staff couldn’t sell on-field success to recruits, specifically class of 2018 prospects, a large number of whom verbally committed last winter, spring and summer. UVA’s early 2017 success has gotten the attention of recruits, Mendenhall said during his October 9 press conference. If the winning continues, it could well spur the Hoos on to a strong finish in the class of 2018 and a larger pool of players to choose from in the class of 2019.
“Oh, [winning is] — I mean, I’d love to just right away say it’s everything,” Mendenhall replied when asked how much difference does the 4-1 start make with recruits in terms of giving the program credibility. “If it’s not, it’s just right under that. Everyone likes a winner, and when you have a world class education in addition to winning football in a really cool community, then it becomes the whole different commentary.
“Many of the players that came for 2017’s class are coming based on the history and the record of myself and our staff and just believed it would — it certainly would happen here. And our first year, I think all that showed was, for those that stayed committed, was they didn’t waver, but there were others on the outside that were wondering, will this really work, and how long will it take, and do I want to be a part of that this early?
“All that’s happening now in the second year, to have the start that we’ve had, it’s just linking back to certainly what coach has been saying the team is. It’s not a matter of if, but when, and the when might be sooner than what it looked like a year ago. So those that were kind of up — came up to the line that were peeking over at what UVA might look like are now jogging up to the line and with more energy and excitement as to possibly joining us. That’s been increasingly so the last three weeks, I would say.”
Official Visitors: The Duke Game
As planned, Judson (Converse, TX) class of 2018 duo Darren Brown and Chris Mills were on Grounds this past weekend for official visits. TheSabre.com has confirmed that Virginia hosted a third official visitor, North Stafford (Stafford, VA) senior cornerback prospect Devin Ravenel, last weekend as well.
Ravenel has been a James Madison verbal commitment since August 1, 2017. His brother, Brandon, played for the Dukes before graduating in 2017. On August 26, multiple outlets, including the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, reported that the younger Ravenel had received a scholarship offer from Virginia. Wolverines coach Joe Mangano confirmed the offer and the official visit earlier today.
Where Ravenel stands in his decision-making process remains unclear, but there is no question he is giving Virginia a hard look. We hope to catch up with him as well as the Judson standouts Brown (a defensive line target) and Mills (cornerback) for updates as soon as possible. In the meantime, check out the tweet Mills posted following his official visit. (The photo includes all three confirmed official visitors.)
— Chris Mills¹⁷ (@ChrisMills_17) October 10, 2017
Check out highlights of the three confirmed official visitors below.
More Confirmed Visitors
Highland Springs (VA) senior receiver Billy Kemp was on hand for the 28-21 win over Duke last weekend. We spotted Olamide Zaccheaus going up to greet the 5’9”, 170-pound senior immediately following the game. Virginia has offered the versatile prospect, who posted his 2017 midseason highlights last week.
At least four previously committed prospects — scholarship quarterback Wyatt Rector and scholarship outside linebacker Noah Taylor, and recruited walk-on linebacker Parker Chenault and recruited walk-on long-snapper Lee Dudley — also made it to Charlottesville last Saturday. A twitter pic of the future Hoos is below.
— wyatt rector (@WyattRector) October 7, 2017
There hasn’t been any indication that class of 2018 placekicker Hunter Pearson is wavering in his commitment to the Virginia football program. In case there is any doubt, though, the Seneca (S.C.) senior squashed it in a tweet over the weekend.
Responding to a tweet from a West Virginia fan, Pearson, who has a scholarship offer from UVA, replied with the following:
Sorry but I’m 100% Wahoo https://t.co/m6Cm0QRuqK
— Hunter Pearson (@HunterPearson_) October 8, 2017