From last Friday through last Sunday, Virginia football scored pledges from four rising high school seniors to more than double their total commitments in the 2018 recruiting class. Earlier this week, Cavalier head coach Bronco Mendenhall expressed optimism that his program is headed in the right direction on the recruiting trail.
“We’re gaining momentum,” he said.
“It’s not taking long for people to see who we are, the authenticity of us, and what our brand really is and that it’s real,” Mendenhall continued. “That builds trust. When kids are coming and seeing it and then comparing to the messaging, it’s like ‘oh, this is real and this is authentic and this is how they want me and this is how they’ll use me and this is the future of the program.’”
St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, FL) slot receiver/returner Tavares Kelly announced for the Wahoos on Friday, April 21. IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) linebacker Case Gatlin came aboard the following day, and last Sunday offensive linemen Joe Bissinger (Memorial High School (Houston, TX)) and Will Lawrence (Harding Academy (Memphis, TN)) joined the class. Previous commitments included Avalon (Gaithersburg, MD) outside linebacker Noah Taylor, Leesburg (FL) quarterback Wyatt Rector, and The Peddie School (Hightstown, N.J.) linebacker Javar Garrett.
A number of recruits have come through Charlottesville this spring. The Spring Football Festival, which takes place Saturday, is a traditional recruiting tool as well. Coach Mendenhall enjoyed some recruiting success at last year’s event when current Cavalier first year running back and reigning Virginia Gatorade Football Player of the Year Lamont Atkins committed. Might some more success come Saturday?
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another flurry this upcoming weekend,” answered Mendenhall, who’ll have targets including defensive tackles Jamion Franklin and Kai Golden on Grounds this Saturday (stay tuned to TheSabre.com for a full rundown of those confirmed visitors this weekend).
From a general recruiting perspective, as he concludes his second spring as Cavalier head coach, Bronco Mendenhall said: “I like where we are. It takes time. I like our ’17 class coming in and I like our commitments a lot for ’18 to this point and I think momentum is building.”
Led by talents such as center Tyler Fannin, quarterback Lindell Stone and linebacker Zane Zandier, the majority of Virginia’s 2017 Class arrives this summer. Fans will get a look at several touted class of 2017 recruits Saturday, however, including legacy Germane Crowell. Crowell’s play at cornerback this spring has been noteworthy, and with Juan Thornhill and Myles Robinson moving to safety he certainly could be part of the cornerback rotation next season.
The aforementioned Atkins and fellow first year running back Jamari Peacock will also be on display in Scott Stadium on Saturday. Atkins, a Speed Back, scored a touchdown in practice this past Tuesday. Peacock is at the Big Back position. Given Virginia’s depth situation at running back, both of these players could easily see the field next season.