Virginia Football Recruiting Notes: Offensive Line A Top Remaining Need In 2021

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Of the 15 rising seniors who have pledged to the University of Virginia football program, one – Blessed Trinity (Roswell, GA) standout Ty Furnish – is being recruited as an offensive lineman. Cavalier head coach Bronco Mendenhall wants to continue to address the offensive line with the remaining scholarships in the 2021 Class.

“We have a number of players that we want at the offensive line position, as we do at each position,” Mendenhall said in a videoconference session with reporters this spring. “That number has required us to go after five offensive linemen in our first four recruiting classes. That’s what the numbers say we needed. We need four this year. It’s taken four years to have the offensive line become healthy in numbers and quality, but we still need in this upcoming class four more according to our numbers, and then you should see the numbers drop down significantly per year as we become more reloading rather than rebuilding.”

Furnish announced his commitment to the Hoos on May 30, which was after Mendenhall provided those comments. He is the lone offensive line commit in the class; however, it should be noted that fellow Peach State rising senior and Cavalier commit Hugh Laughlin could wind up on the offensive line. The 6’6”, 280-pound Laughlin was offered by Virginia as a defensive lineman.

The chart below shows the projected offensive line scholarship numbers for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Class of 2018 signee Micah Mariteragi is no longer on Virginia football’s official roster. I keep Furnish as the only offensive line recruit in 2021, and for the sake of this report project class of 2020 signee Jestus Johnson III and Furnish to redshirt in their true freshman seasons. Also, tackle Andrew Gentry is listed in 2022 as he will be coming off the two-year mission trip he began earlier this month.

 2021 Season2022 Season
SeniorsTommy Christ (T), Tyler Fannin (C/G), Bobby Haskins (T), Ryan Nelson (G/T), Olusegun Oluwatimi (C), Ryan Swoboda (T), Gerrik Vollmer (C/G)Joe Bissinger (G), Derek Devine (T), Martin Weisz (G)
JuniorsJoe Bissinger (G), Derek Devine (T), Martin Weisz (G)Kariem Al-Soufi (G), Jonathan Leech (T), Zachary Teter (G)
SophomoresKariem Al-Soufi (G), Jonathan Leech (T), Zachary Teter (G)Jestus Johnson III (C/G)
Redshirt FreshmenJestus Johnson III (C/G)Ty Furnish (G)
True FreshmenTy Furnish (G)Andrew Gentry (T)
Scholarship Total159

Based on the average numbers the past three seasons and the projected number for 2020, Coach Mendenhall wants to have somewhere in the range of 16-18 scholarship offensive linemen on the roster each year. The Hoos had 15 scholarship linemen in 2017. Sixteen were on the roster in 2018. Eighteen were on the roster in 2019, and the Hoos project to have 17 in 2020. If UVA lands three more rising high school seniors, there will be 18 scholarship offensive linemen on the 2021 roster.

Looking ahead to 2022, the scholarship number currently projects to be nine because of a large departing senior class in 2021. Three more class of 2021 commits boosts the number to 12. If 16-18 is the sweet spot Mendenhall is looking for, Virginia will need eight total recruits in the 2021 and 2022 classes to meet it.

Looking at our latest 2021 Target Board, Virginia has offered scholarships to 41 offensive line prospects. These are offers we have confirmed, reported offers via Twitter, and double-checking the numbers from Rivals and 247Sports. Nineteen of those prospects have already committed elsewhere, leaving 22 uncommitted. Of the 22 uncommitted, UVA is either not among the top schools for or an extreme longshot with the following: James Brockermeyer, Tommy Brockermeyer, Thomas Cole, Diego Pounds, Nolan Rucci, and Kingsley Suamataia.

Virginia extended a new offensive line offer this week to Brandon Mackinnon, a 6’7”, 280-pound Massachusetts native who will attend The Hun School (Princeton, N.J.) for a postgraduate semester this fall. UVA is the first Power 5 offer for Mackinnon.

Texas product Jack Leyrer, Florida native Ethan Mort and Texas standout interior lineman Ezra Oyetade were offered by Virginia in April. Kalan Ellis of Hawaii and Charlie Patterson of Georgia landed offers in May, and Wisconsin native Marcus Mbow scored an offer from the Hoos in June.

In-state prospects still on the board include Robinson (Fairfax, VA) star Tristan Leigh. Leigh, one of the most coveted offensive line prospects in the nation, is a UVA legacy but seems likely headed out of state. If he stays in-state, Virginia Tech is very much in this race as well. Leigh included UVA in his top 15 released earlier this spring. Logan Taylor, a 6’8” native of Canada who attends Episcopal (Alexandria, VA), is a player UVA remains very much in the running with. Meanwhile, the Hoos may have cooled at this point on two other reported in-state offer recipients, Griffin Duggan and Omega Williams.

New Class Of 2021 Offers Go Out

Moving on from the offensive line, UVA has recently offered three new rising seniors.

North Cross (Roanoke, VA) linebacker/athlete James Jackson claimed an offer from UVA on June 11, giving him his third FBS offer of the month as Old Dominion and Wake Forest have also come through. Air Force, Kansas, Stanford and West Virginia are among the other offers he is considering.

Richmond Senior (Rockingham, N.C.) 6’4”, 185-pound wide receiver prospect Dalton Stroman Jr. claimed an offer from the Hoos as well, giving him his third ACC offer. Duke, Wake Forest, Appalachian State, Liberty and North Carolina A&T have offered too.

Prairie Ridge (Crystal Lake, IL) rising senior Carter Evans is the latest tight end prospect to land an offer from Virginia. Tight end is clearly a position UVA would like to address with at least one prospect in this class. UVA represents Evans’ first Power 5 offer. The 6’4”, 240-pound prospect has received lots of Ivy League interest and has offers from Army and Navy, among others.

UVA recently made the top three for Christian Pedersen, a tight end prospect out of Junipero Serra (San Mateo, CA). Pedersen, who also lists Louisville and San Diego State, attends the same high school that produced UVA class of 2020 defensive line prospect Nusi Malani.

New Profile Pic

Last but not least, UVA’s newest commit, Javin Burke, has updated his Twitter profile picture. Go Hoos!

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