Virginia Football Announces Two More Recruits To 2019 Class, Grad-Transfer Gellerstedt

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The first day of Division 1 football’s Regular Signing Period went as expected for the University of Virginia football program, which officially welcomed quarterback Luke Wentz and linebacker Jairus Satiu to its class of 2019 as well as graduate transfer offensive tackle Alex Gellerstedt.

Wentz and Satiu give Virginia 23 signees in total in the class of 2019. Three of those student athletes – safety Chayce Chalmers, defensive back Antonio Clary and wide receiver Dorien Goddard – enrolled on Grounds last month.

UVA’s 2019 Class

Josh Ahern, Linebacker, 6’3″, 215 pounds, Lake Braddock (Burke, VA)
Kariem Al Soufi, Offensive Lineman, 6’4″, 350 pounds, Friedrich-Spree Gesamtschule (Paderborn, Germany)
Nathaniel Beal III, Wide Receiver, 6’5”, 200 pounds, Strake Jesuit College Prep (Houston, TX)
Jowon Briggs, Defensive Lineman, 6’2″, 286 pounds, Walnut Hills (Cincinnati, OH)
Chayce Chalmers, Defensive Back, 6’2”, 208 pounds, Stonewall Jackson (Manassas, VA)
Antonio Clary, Defensive Back, 6’0”, 200 pounds, Sandalwood (Jacksonville, FL)
Fentrell Cypress II, Defensive Back, 6’0″, 173 pounds, Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.)
Tenyeh Dixon, Defensive Back, 6’0”, 185 pounds, H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.)
Dorien Goddard, Wide Receiver, 6’3”, 222 pounds, Greeneville (TN)
Robert Harvey, Jr., Dual-Threat Quarterback, 5’10”, 182 pounds, Edgewater (Orlando, FL)
Mike Hollins, Running Back, 5’10”, 214 pounds, University Lab (Baton Rouge, LA)
JaQuay Hubbard, Offensive Lineman, 6’6”, 330 pounds, Sharpsville (PA)
Nick Jackson, Linebacker, 6’2”, 222 pounds, The Lovett School (Atlanta, GA)
Jonathan Leech, Offensive Lineman, 6’5”, 270 pounds, Mill Creek (Hoschton, GA)
Seneca Milledge, Running Back, 5’6”, 170 pounds, Dunbar (Fort Myers, FL)
DSean Perry, Linebacker, 6’3”, 223 pounds, Gulliver Prep (Miami, FL)
Jairus Satiu, Linebacker, 6’3”, 200 pounds, Fork Union Military Academy (VA) via Skyridge High School (Lehi, UT)
Ben Smiley III, Defensive Lineman, 6’4”, 280 pounds, Indian River (Chesapeake, VA)
Hunter Stewart, Linebacker, 6’3”, 220 pounds, Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.)
Zachary Teter, Offensive Lineman, 6’5”, 290 pounds, Lake Gibson (Lakeland, FL)
Luke Wentz, Quarterback, 6’4”, 2017 pounds, Reismann-Gymnasium High School (Troisdorf, Germany)
Dontayvion Wicks, Wide Receiver, 6’2”, 195 pounds, Plaquemine (LA)
Major Williams, Defensive Back, 6’0”, 176 pounds, Dunbar (Fort Myers, FL)

Virginia head football coach Bronco Mendenhall began his February 6 press conference by stating the obvious – what used to be the biggest day in college football recruiting is now more of an afterthought with the Early Signing Period in place.

“I don’t view this as signing day,” said Mendenhall. “Signing day already happened. The early signing day is now where — I think the latest statistics said over 80-percent of student-athletes signed for football in the first signing date, so there’s 20 percent that are being announced today. With the exception of a graduate transfer that’s chosen to join us, our commitments have been in place, and we’ve known about them even at the early signing date.”

Indeed, both Satiu (May of 2018) and Wentz (June of 2018) have been long-time pledges to Virginia. Last month, Gellerstedt announced his plans to enroll on Grounds after he graduates from Penn State this spring. The Hoos were involved with a few high school seniors – at least three defensive line prospects, to be specific – leading up to the start of the Regular Signing Period. However, those players signed elsewhere.

“Jairus is a player that we were aware of when I was the coach at Brigham Young,” Mendenhall said. “He was just young at that time. However, we had paid attention to him then. He spent last year at Fork Union, or last semester at Fork Union. We really liked how he performed there. He’s been working academically to ensure that he could meet UVA’s admissions standards for our program, and he’ll be a linebacker for us, so another really good player, position of need and really good fit.”

The 6’3”, 200-pound Satiu is part of a 5-player linebacker haul that also includes 4-star Hunter Stewart, Nick Jackson, D’Sean Perry and Josh Ahern. Meanwhile, Wentz is one of two quarterbacks UVA recruited in the class of 2019. He impressed Mendenhall and company as part of the “DreamChasers” tour, a group of European players who came to the United States in the spring of 2018 to compete in college camps.

“He is an athlete,” Mendenhall said of the 6’4”, 207-pound Wentz, who played for the Paderborn Dolphins American football program in Germany.

“When he came to camp we put him at defensive back and at wide receiver and at quarterback,” Mendenhall recalled. “He’s fast and he’s big, and he’s a fierce competitor and a really hard worker, a live arm, and so it’ll be fun to see where and how and what his production really looks like here at UVA and how long it takes, coming from Europe playing that position.”

With Gellerstedt in the fold, this marks the third straight offseason in which Virginia has taken a graduate transfer offensive lineman. John Montelus (Notre Dame) and Brandon Pertile (Oklahoma State) played for the Hoos in the 2017 season, while Marcus Applefield (Rutgers) started all 13 games for UVA this past season. In Gellerstedt, Virginia is getting a graduate transfer who will have two years of eligibility remaining.

“We had a need for an offensive lineman as a grad transfer like we have every year,” Mendenhall said. “We filled that with Alex from Penn State. He has two years of eligibility remaining and is a very strong student, which is a perfect fit for UVA.”

Gellerstedt measures in at 6’6”, 311 pounds. He is expected to compete for a spot at offensive tackle.

Final Team Rankings

Virginia’s third full recruiting class under Coach Mendenhall is also its best in terms of rankings.

Four of UVA’s 23 signees boast at least one 4-star ranking by either Rivals or 247Sports, including consensus 4-star Under Armour All-American defensive lineman Jowon Briggs, Rivals 4-star offensive lineman Ja’Quay Hubbard, Rivals 4-star linebacker Hunter Stewart, and newly minted 247Sports 4-star wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks.

As of Wednesday, February 6, Virginia’s 2019 Class is rated No. 39 nationally by Rivals.com and No. 43 in the country by 247Sports. Rivals and 247Sports rank UVA’s haul at No. 7 in the ACC. Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech, NC State, North Carolina and Miami are ranked ahead of the Cavaliers by Rivals, while 247Sports ranks Clemson, Florida State, NC State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Miami as its top six classes in the conference in 2019.

“I believe this class that we just signed is similar to our ’17 class in terms of capability of players, how fast they might play and the impact they might have, and so I’m really excited about this class from top to bottom and the needs being addressed but also just the quality of players,” Mendenhall said. “So I think we’ve done a really nice job in this class.”

What’s Next?

It’s full steam ahead for the class of 2020, but Coach Mendenhall indicated he may not be done adding a scholarship player or more to the roster before next season.

“I’m really comfortable today if it just stopped that we could play and play effectively,” Mendenhall said. “If I were to say, what’s the next biggest need, there are still two needs that are preeminent in our program. I would love another wide receiver, and I would prefer one with two years of eligibility who’s a great student. I think that fits really well at UVA. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider one in terms of one-year player, but if you’re saying for the University of Virginia, a graduate transfer that has two years, is a great student and a really good player, and we have a need at receiver. And I still would not eliminate the chance of even another possible grad-transfer at offensive line. The way we practice, how physical we want to play, and now here’s the next part, the injuries that we still have on our team going into spring, our season just became longer. So our roster is still not completely developed. We just played a longer season, and we’ve done it now — it’s becoming habit, and so the volume of players and the wear on them is taking a toll, and so we’re still — especially in the offensive line category, more is better if they’re the fits I’ve already talked about.”

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