Virginia Football Caps Off Early Signing Period With Dynamic LB Jonathan Horton

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Head coach Bronco Mendenhall said Virginia football could sign up to 13 prospects during Division 1 Football’s Class of 2020 Early Signing Period, which lasted Wednesday (Dec. 18) through Friday (Dec. 20). With less than 10 hours remaining until the period’s conclusion, Mendenhall’s prediction came to fruition as UVA football announced the signing of Scotlandville Magnet (Baton Rouge, LA) outside linebacker prospect Jonathan Horton.

Horton made three official visits in the weeks leading up to the Early Signing Period, trekking to Virginia on November 22, Utah on November 29, and Baylor on December 13. Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin visited Baton Rouge on December 3. Coaches from Baylor, Utah and Virginia had in-homes with Horton and his family last week, with Mendenhall, Co-Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers Coach Kelly Poppinga, Wide Receivers Coach Marques Hagans and Special Teams Coordinator Ricky Brumfield representing the Hoos.

As of Tuesday, the 6’4″, 215-pound senior reportedly was expected to wait and sign with his school of choice in February. Virginia continued to push, though, as Scotlandville Magnet coach Lester Ricard Jr. told The Advocate (click here for the full article) the following: “Earlier this week Virginia sent us this thing by text — from Scotlandville to Charlottesville — with both Jon and [Virginia men’s basketball recruit Reece Beekman] on it that was really cool.”

Virginia’s work paid off with the signing of Horton, who burst onto the football recruiting scene this fall. The dynamic athlete played freshman football in 2016 but put football aside in 2017 and 2018 in order to focus on basketball – Horton plays alongside Beekman on the Hornets’ state championship-winning basketball squad. He resurfaced on the gridiron as a senior, much to the dismay of opposing offenses as he totaled 82 tackles including 22 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks.

Major FBS colleges took immediate notice of Horton, who landed scholarship offers from Baylor, Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, SMU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tulane in the months of October and November.

Horton is rated a 4-star recruit by 247Sports. Of its 13 early signees, Virginia has three prospects rated a 4-star by at least one of the major national recruiting outlets. The Hoos now boast three class of 2020 signees from the state of Louisiana, which produced two of Virginia’s class of 2019 signees as well.

Virginia Football’s Class of 2020

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

Jonathan Horton, Outside Linebacker, Scotlandville Magnet (Baton Rouge, LA)
6’4”, 215 pounds
Rivals: 3-star; No. 19 in Louisiana; No. 19 weak-side defensive end
247Sports: 4-star; No. 9 in Louisiana; No. 10 weak-side defensive end

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

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