University of Virginia football head coach Bronco Mendenhall indicated during his Early Signing Day press conference in December that there were three positions he may look to add to before next season, either through the graduate transfer or high school avenues.
“We could still use another bridge in terms of a graduate transfer or two,” said Mendenhall, whose program signed 21 recruits during Division 1 football’s Early Signing Period for the class of 2019. “Offensive line, still, we need a graduate transfer, if we’re talking extra credit. We don’t need one. But it would be an extra. Same thing at receiver, outside receiver. A graduate transfer would help give us an additional number there. Those two positions are probably at the biggest deficit still in terms of succession planning, numbers and ability for what I’d like to see.”
“The next position would be possibly another defensive lineman if we could find an exceptional defensive lineman, similar to Jowon [Briggs], Ben Smiley, if we could find another player similar to those two, it would be in that order, if I were then saying to finish this, even though right now I’m good, but if to say, okay, if we kept working and there were possibilities where might they be, probably there,” Mendenhall added.
VirginiaSports.com Director of News Content Jeff White reported something similar in this January 15 article. White wrote:
The next signing period opens on Feb. 6. Mendenhall said the Cavaliers would like to add three more scholarship players for the 2019 season: two graduate transfers (a wide receiver and an offensive lineman) and, in all likelihood, a defensive lineman who’s currently a high school senior.
Virginia has checked off one of the boxes with the commitment of Penn State graduate transfer offensive tackle Alex Gellerstedt. The 6’6”, 311-pound Gellerstedt will graduate from PSU this spring and therefore will be eligible to play for the Cavaliers next season. Currently a redshirt sophomore, the Dublin (OH) native will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Gellerstedt played in eight games the past two seasons at Penn State, including five outings where he saw playing time on the offensive line. He has the maturity of being in a major D1 program for three years. However, don’t be surprised if Virginia takes another offensive line graduate transfer in addition, especially one with starting experience. Having lost guards Jake Fieler and R.J. Proctor from last season’s rotation as well as reserve guard Ben Knutson, the Hoos may look to address the interior if another grad-transfer offensive lineman is added.
Flipping to the defensive line, Mendenhall and defensive line coach Vic So’oto were in Matthews (N.C.) on Wednesday (January 30) to meet with Wisdom Asaboro, a 6’8”, 280-pound senior defensive lineman/offensive lineman. The Covenant Day star has emerged as a possible defensive line addition to go along with Jowon Briggs and Ben Smiley III.
Thanks @UVACoachBronco and @Coach_Sooto for stopping by Covenant Day and checking in! You can they’re a staff that cares about the kids! @langstonwertzjr @CDSLions @CovenantDay @pepmancv @SWiltfong247 @recruit704 @JasonPugheXOS pic.twitter.com/GWH3xr2GQL
— Chris James (@CoachJames90) January 30, 2019
Asaboro was in Charlottesville the weekend of January 18-20, one week after taking an official to North Carolina. Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports reports in this tweet that Penn State and Auburn are “still in play” as well. Auburn extended a scholarship last week.
At this point, Asaboro appears to be UVA’s best bet in terms of adding another high school senior defensive lineman to the class of 2019. Two other d-line targets appear to be headed elsewhere.
Christ The King (N.Y.) standout Jared Harrison-Hunte announced he will make his college commitment on Friday. Virginia’s coaches impressed the standout prospect; however, the Hoos won’t be the choice, and 247Sports is forecasting a Miami pledge.
Alabama native Michael Lockhart is revealing his final three schools on Friday (February 1). Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and North Carolina hosted the talented defensive lineman on officials last month. UVA appears to be on the outside looking in in terms of making Lockhart’s finalist list.
UVA’s European Recruits Enjoy Official Visits
Virginia signed Paderborn, Germany offensive lineman Kariem Al Soufi in December and is expected to sign Paderborn, Germany quarterback/athlete Luke Wentz next Wednesday (February 6), which again is the first day of Division 1 football’s Regular Signing Period for the class of 2019. Both players were in Charlottesville on official visits last month.
I want to thank @UVAFootball for the great weekend. It was one of the greatest weekend in my life. I also want to thank @Blaire99 and @Coach_JJAnders for taking care of us and to make everything as comfortable as possible. Go Hoos 🔷️⚔🔶️ pic.twitter.com/fzOVGavRB1
— Kariem Al Soufi (@kariem_soufi) January 21, 2019
Thank you @UVAFootball for the great official visit this weekend! What a treat! Had an amazing time and felt instantly welcomed to the UVA family! Can’t wait to get back on grounds! Go Hoos 🔷⚔️🔶 @UVACoachBronco @Coach_Beck7 @Coach_JJAnders @Blaire99 pic.twitter.com/uxZLOAEmpp
— Luke Wentz (@LukeWentz03) January 21, 2019
UVA wide receiver signee Dontayvion Wicks has gone from being an under-the-radar prospect to being rated a 4-star by 247Sports.com. This development now gives Virginia four class of 2019 recruits with at least one 4-star ranking by a national recruiting outlet. The list includes defensive lineman Jowon Briggs, offensive lineman JaQuay Hubbard, linebacker Hunter Stewart, and Wicks.
Briggs, an Under Armour All-American, is a consensus 4-star recruit for the Hoos.
Social Media Savvy
UVA has taken to Twitter quite well in the Mendenhall era, consistently catching recruits’ attention with various Twitter art and messaging. Here is the latest hit among recruits …
— Latarie kinsler Jr🥶 (@LK2Jr) January 22, 2019
— Omega Williams (@OmegaWilliams7) January 27, 2019
— Carson Lee🏳 (@CarsonLee75) January 22, 2019