99 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff

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Drumming up interest from Virginia football fans in June can be a tricky task. Spring football has long since been dissected. Kickoff is still two months away. A beach or a lake or a pool or a cool mountain trail all beckon for attention. And then a day like Friday happens.

The “99 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff” series continues.

No. 70 – A June Jolt

Bronco Mendenhall and the Virginia football coaching staff had a very good – no, make that great! – recruiting day Friday. Things started with an expected announcement at noon and then steamrolled through the next several hours with four more prospects choosing the Hoos too. By the end of the day, UVA had commitments from:

  • Four-Star Linebacker Hunter Stewart
  • Four-Star Defensive Tackle Jowon Briggs
  • Three-Star Offensive Lineman Kariem Al Soufi
  • Three-Star Quarterback/Athlete Luke Wentz
  • Three-Star Defensive End/Linebacker DSean Perry

Briggs became the highest rated recruit to date for Mendenhall and company. Rivals rates him as the No. 2 defensive tackle in the class and the No. 57 overall prospect. Stewart pledged as an in-state commit out of Arlington so UVA landed two four-star recruits within hours. Al Soufi and Wentz continued a recent trend overseas where the Hoos have gained a foothold, while Perry extended a pipeline to Gulliver Prep in Florida where former Wahoo Earl Sims is the coach.

Boom! Just like that, Virginia fans roared to life. Here are a few sample posts from TheSabre.com football message board during the day.

Just how much of a June jolt did Friday’s action create? The site pulled in its second highest total of the month for page views with a 29.9% increase over the daily average from June 1 to June 22. The page titled Virginia Football Board set a new monthly high for daily page views and nearly doubled (48.6% increase over the daily average) the daily average from June 1 to June 22.

If the message board seemed more enthusiastic than it has in a long, long time, that makes sense. Only two other days this month reached near the same level of interest and those weren’t good news driven (The Daily Progress BOV articles and the day Cam’Ron Kelly chose VT over Virginia and others) for UVA fans. Friday’s fun built on a great week too so it was a culmination of sorts.

On Monday, three-star offensive lineman Jonathan Leech started things off. On Tuesday, speedy three-star cornerback Fentrell Cypress and three-star in-state linebacker/safety prospect Chayce Chalmers joined the list too. After Friday’s flurry of five more commitments, the Cavaliers had received eight (it grew to nine when a preferred walk-on kicker joined in Saturday!) during the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday rated among the top 10 traffic days for the month to date on the football message board.

In fact, Virginia fans got so excited, that they essentially held their own little Friday’s After Five party. From 5 p.m. when the Briggs news first appeared through 10 p.m., the place was hopping. How much? That five-hour span on the page title Virginia Football Board would have ranked in the top 10 page view days in the month by itself!

That all aligns with what director of athletics Carla Williams and Mendenhall have emphasized. First: A rising football tide lifts all boats. Second, as noted in this video and as Mendenhall has said on other occasions: the UVA community is “craving great football and a consistent winner.” If a great recruiting day on a Friday in June can stir up a jolt of enthusiasm, imagine what a consistent winner on the football field can do again too.

The “99 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff” series has discussed much more. The previous articles are below. Click away.

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