Virginia Football Recruiting: Hoos End First Day Of Early Signing Period With New Addition

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The University of Virginia football program secured another prospect in the class of 2020 Wednesday evening, when the Hoos announced the signing of 6’6”, 240-pound defensive line prospect Olasunkonmi Agunloye. The 3-star senior out of Lindenhurst High School (N.Y.) chose UVA over offers from Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse and UCLA, among others. He made official visits this fall to UCLA and UVA.

“I want to start off by thanking all the coaches that recruited me throughout this long process and the Lord for guiding me through it step by step,” Agunloye wrote in the tweet below. “Also want to thank all my family, coaches, and teammates for all the support and love throughout the years. The past four years with my teammates have been amazing and the support from the town of Lindenhurst was phenomenal every year, with that being said I’d like to announce I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at The University of Virginia!! #gohoos #BELIEVE”

Agunloye, who goes by the nickname of “Su”, played defensive end and offensive tackle on a Lindenhurst team that went undefeated and captured the Long Island Championship in 2019. First-Team All-Division, First-Team All-County, Second-Team All-Long Island and Third Team All-State are among the accolades the future Cavalier received for his senior year performance. In addition, Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN all rank the promising lineman as a 3-star.

UVA is recruiting Agunloye as a defensive lineman. Eleven other prospects signed with Virginia on Wednesday, the first day of the Early Signing Period for the class of 2020. The signed class includes:

Olasunkonmi “Su” Agunloye, Defensive Lineman, Lindenhurst (N.Y.)
6’6″, 240 pounds (Note: Heights and weights are from
Rivals: 3-star; No. 7 New York; No. 42 strong-side defensive end
247Sports: 3-star; No. 9 New York; No. 49 strong-side defensive end

Ira Armstead, Dual-Threat Quarterback, Adams (South Bend, IN)
6’3″, 200 pounds
Rivals: 2-star
247Sports: 3-star; No. 8 in Indiana; No. 68 athlete

Sam Brady, Linebacker, North Lincoln (Denver, N.C.)
6’3″, 200 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 37 in North Carolina
247Sports: 3-star; No. 42 in North Carolina; No. 87 outside linebacker

Jahmeer Carter, Defensive Lineman, Archbishop Spalding (Severn, MD)
6’2″, 300 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 18 in Maryland; No. 41 defensive tackle
247Sports: 3-star; No. 33 in Maryland; No. 82 defensive tackle

Lavel Davis Jr., Wide Receiver, Woodland (Dorchester, S.C.)
6’7″, 200 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 14 in South Carolina
247Sports: 3-star; No. 11 in South Carolina; No. 134 wide receiver

Elijah Gaines, Defensive Back, Episcopal (Alexandria, VA) (native of Queens, N.Y.)
6’2″, 185 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 11 in Virginia; No. 55 cornerback
247Sports: 3-star; No. 12 in Virginia; No. 40 safety

Andrew Gentry, Offensive Tackle, Columbine (Littleton, CO)
6’7″, 300 pounds
Rivals: 4-star; No. 65 in the nation; No. 1 in Colorado; No. 9 offensive tackle
247Sports: 4-star; No. 90 in the nation; No. 2 in Colorado; No. 10 offensive tackle

Dave Herard, Defensive Back, Stranahan (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
6’0″, 170 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 38 safety
247Sports: 3-star; No. 186 in Florida; No. 137 cornerback

Donovan Johnson, Safety, Helen Cox (Harvey, LA)
6’2″, 180 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 31 in Louisiana; No. 49 safety
247Sports: 3-star; No. 23 in Louisiana; No. 43 safety

Jestus Johnson III, Offensive Lineman, Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.)
6’3″, 330 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 9 in Washington, D.C.
247Sports: 3-star; No. 11 in Washington, D.C.; No. 29 center

Josh Rawlings, Tight End, Woodland Hills (Pittsburgh, PA)
6’5″, 245 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 12 in Pennsylvania
247Sports: 3-star; No. 12 in Pennsylvania; No. 44 tight end

Brandon Williams, Outside Linebacker, Isidore Newman (New Orleans, LA)
6’3″, 200 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 23 in Louisiana; No. 38 outside linebacker
247Sports: 4-star; No. 298 in the nation; No. 13 in Louisiana; No. 25 outside linebacker

Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall addressed the media prior to Agunloye’s announcement. Certainly, the New York standout seems to fit right in line with the sentiment UVA’s coach expressed earlier in the day.

“The relationships we have with the 11 that are listed here, those relationships go really deep and they’re I would say almost completely aligned with the principals, goals, values of not only our program, but of UVA, and so I think they’re excellent fits. The fit, meaning the dynamic of academics and character,” Mendenhall said. “And then championship caliber football or New Year Six caliber football has now combined into a more formidable narrative for the University of Virginia. That doesn’t have to be projected from Brigham Young. It’s happening here in three of the four years in each of those tiers, in each of those years, continues this climb. Our recruits and their families saw that. Our commitments certainly that resonated with and they already feel like they’re part of our existing team.”

More To Come?

The Early Signing Period ends on Friday, December 20. Coach Mendenhall said on Wednesday (Dec. 18) that his program could end up with 13 signees by the end of the period, which he refers to as the “new normal time period” in football recruiting.

“So I expect this class to be solidified at probably 13 for this new normal time period, and then there could be a few other additions as we get to the February signing period,” he said.

Varina (VA) defensive end Lorenz Terry remains committed to Virginia according to his head coach, Stu Brown. However, the 6’5”, 240-pound senior needs to improve his standardized test score. If Terry does not sign with the Hoos this week, the test score could be the reason why. We’ll certainly continue to monitor the central Virginia standout’s situation in the days and weeks to come.

Terry’s situation could mean Mendenhall was referring to someone else as the 13th signee.

Gentry’s Future Plans

Mendenhall clarified Andrew Gentry’s LDS mission plans. As of now, the top offensive tackle prospect won’t suit up for the Cavaliers until the summer of 2022.

“His plan as we speak today is to serve his [two-year LDS] mission first,” Mendenhall said. “That means he will graduate from high school, serve his mission, and we’ll have him in two years, which is typical.”

Mendenhall’s excitement in landing the 6’7”, 300-pound tackle is evident. Gentry, who attends Columbine High School (Littleton, CO), is a consensus top 100 recruit in the nation and was pursued by top programs throughout the nation, including Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and many more.

“Andrew is an amazing football player,” Mendenhall noted. “I would say to this point in the classes that we’ve signed at the University of Virginia he is the most skilled and talented and prepared at this level of any player we have signed. He is exceptional in every way; the most highly recruited player that I think I’ve ever recruited in terms of numbers of offers, and elite level offers and quality of offers.”

Notes & Quotes

– A quick recap of the UVA-related action on the first day of the class of 2020 Early Signing Period: Louisiana safety prospect Donovan Johnson signed with Virginia despite a late push from Arkansas and new head coach Sam Pittman. Based on comments from Wednesday’s press conference, Mendenhall was not worried about Johnson’s decision. Fellow Louisiana defensive back prospect Ja’Darius “Bud” Clark signed with TCU. Clark committed to UVA back in the spring, but it was long thought that he would sign elsewhere. Louisiana 4-star wide receiver Koy Moore made an official visit to Virginia last week but stuck with his commitment and signed with LSU. Former Virginia offensive line commit Jimmy Christ signed with Penn State, the school he flipped to last month. North Carolina wide receiver prospect Devin Chandler signed with Wisconsin over Virginia and Maryland.

– Three signees are expected to enroll in January – quarterback Ira Armstead, tight end Joshua Rawlings, and safety Donovan Johnson. Coach Mendenhall said on Wednesday that up to five signees could wind up enrolling early.

– Mendenhall on this class meeting the needs of the team: “Most of our needs have been met; not all. I’ve never been able to in a recruiting class say that all our needs have been met. And there are projections, but in terms of fit on the field in relation to where we currently are, to continue our unbroken growth pattern, in terms of off the field fit and academic fit, I’m at peace and really happy and satisfied with what this class brings.”

Mendenhall said that wide receiver is the top outstanding need as of now. UVA could try and land another receiver in the class of 2020 or through the grad-transfer market. Other positions I could see UVA targeting in the grad-transfer market as of now: Quarterback and tight end.

– Of UVA’s current signees, only one attends a high school program in the state of Virginia. He is defensive back Elijah Gaines and the school is Episcopal High in Alexandria. Gaines is a native of Queens, New York.

Mendenhall acknowledged the lack of in-state success but is hopeful that things are on the verge of turning around.

“It’s a product of a small class and it’s a product of defeats,” Mendenhall said.

“Lots and lots of players are leaving the state,” he added. “I keep a list in the room where I work. Many are leaving the state. Of those, I think there were eight players in state that we offered and really wanted that chose elsewhere of the long list. So, yeah, anyone that we offered in state that didn’t come, I would say that’s a defeat. I offer them because I want them. If they don’t choose us, there is a reason. I can’t speak for what the reasons are other than we’re going to continue to work on it. [Virginia is] our first priority every single year. The number of times we’re not the first to offer an in-state player is very few. We’re usually first, most thorough, and usually deepest earliest. Then for whatever reason, they haven’t chosen us. However, I sense that trend is changing. The results in this class, again, because of size, but also some of the defeats within the relative small class magnify that, I still sense momentum being gained. So we’ll see if it plays out the way I’m hopeful for and the way I’m predicting.”

Signing Day, Through Twitter

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