If you followed dual-threat quarterback prospect Ira Armstead’s recruitment leading up to his June 20-22 official visit at the University of Virginia, you’d know the Adams (South Bend, IN) rising senior felt strongly about the Cavaliers. In a June 6 article on TheSabre.com, Armstead, who had landed an offer from UVA five days earlier on June 1, said: “I scheduled an official visit because I want to see what Virginia is about and what the culture is about to see if it can be my home.”
Despite having not visited Charlottesville before, the 6’3”, 198-pound rising senior called Virginia his “favorite,” citing his fit within the offense, the success of the dynamic Bryce Perkins in 2018, and a coaching staff he called “very welcoming and honest.”
In short, Armstead strongly suspected Virginia was the potential right college fit. The official visit experience confirmed his suspicions, and so he verbally committed to head coach Bronco Mendenhall while on Grounds, before he headed home to South Bend.
“It felt like a giant weight was lifted off of me,” Armstead said of committing to UVA. “I told Coach Mendenhall when we were in his office discussing the visit. My family were super happy and excited for me.”
What ultimately sold Armstead on Virginia?
“The culture and the academic aspect of the school,” said Armstead’s, who is Virginia’s first quarterback recruit in the 2020 Class. “They are like very family oriented which is what I need.”
“Great sports, great academics, and a great culture,” Armstead added.
Education-wise, “I spoke to [Deputy Director of Athletics] Ted White and what I like is that they prepare my classes for me and my major and it’s based on my interest,” said Armstead, who is interested in Business and Psychology.
The Thursday-Saturday stint in Charlottesville showed Armstead that his initial instincts about the Virginia coaches were correct. He learned as well that he fit well with the players.
“The coaches treated me like a son as soon as I arrived there,” Armstead said. “What stood out was how they treated me and how close they were with each other as a coaching staff and with each other’s kids.”
The players, Armstead noted, “are really cool and treated me like family. I spent most of my time with Charles Snowden.”
Coach Mendenhall impressed and surprised Armstead and his family.
“His message was that they wanted me and that they are very family based,” Armstead said. “What surprised me is that he let us go to his house and ride horses with him and fish at his pond.”
As it turns out, Armstead may be a natural on a horse.
“I was nervous as first, but I ended up being really good at it,” he said.
Despite limited experience at quarterback, Armstead is proving to be pretty good at that too. He became a full-time starting signal caller his sophomore year. After throwing for over 1,400 yards in 2017, Armstead increased his passing total to over 2,200 as a junior last season, adding 1,104 yards rushing while amassing 30 total touchdowns.
Armstead, a terrific athlete (4.55-second 40, 4.21-second shuttle, 35.9-inch vertical) with a live arm, appreciates the flexibility of the Cavalier offensive coaches.
“I spoke with Coach Beck and what I like the most is that the system will be fit around my strengths instead of plugging me into a system,” said Armstead.
The future Cavalier signal caller spoke with Virginia’s current starting quarterback while on his official visit. What stood out about the conversation, Armstead recalls, is how “[Perkins] was talking about how people didn’t believe in him as a QB and he came in and became successful.”
Armstead is not interested in playing out the recruiting process any further, saying, “I am done with the recruiting process. I found the school that is perfect for me and my needs.”
Hometown Notre Dame “is not in the conversation,” he said when asked about interest in/from the Fighting Irish.
With his college decision out of the way, Armstead now looks forward to his final high school season. Adams has gone 3-7 in each of the past two years.
“I am trying to get the team together and not just [work on individual development],” Armstead said. “My expectations for senior year is to make history with the team, continue to leave my legacy, and stay healthy.”