Recap: Junior Day a Success

Without question, last Saturday’s junior day was a success for the University of Virginia football staff. Not only did the ‘Hoos land two verbal commitments from the even in 6-7, 290-pound OL Aaron VanKuiken and 6-6, 230-pound TE/DE/OLB Tyler Westphal , they also impressed a number of other top recruits that were on hand.

Besides VanKuiken and Westphal, the following other prospects were confirmed to have been in attendance…

Ben Barber – WR, Edison (Alexandria, VA)
Brendan Beal – LB, Roxbury (N.J.)
Jimmy Bennett – OL, West Potomac (Alexandria, VA)
Xavier Boyce – ATH, Landstown (Virginia Beach, VA)
Reggie Ellis – DL, Dunbar (Washington, D.C.)
J.B. Fitzgerald – LB, West Windsor Plainsboro South (Princeton Junction, N.J.)
Mike Glennon – QB, Westfield (Chantilly, VA)
Shayne Hale – LB, Gateway (Monroeville, PA)
E.J. Manuel – QB, Bayside (Virginia Beach, VA)
R.J. Mattes – OL, Robinson (Concord, N.C.)
Dyrell Roberts – WR, Smithfield (VA)
Buddy Ruff – DL/OL, Norview (Norfolk, VA)
Cameron Saddler – RB/WR/KR/PR, Gateway (Monroeville, PA)
Scott Vallone – DL, St. Anthony’s (Long Island, N.Y.)
Christian Wilson – LB, Montour (McKees Rocks, PA)

Some prospects stayed overnight on Saturday, but for those who just came for the junior day, the itinerary looked something like this: Arrive around noon. Have lunch with coaches and some UVa players. Talk to the coaches and listen to a speech from head coach Al Groh. Take a tour of the campus/facilities. Watch the UVa/GT basketball game.

The commitments…

Aaron VanKuiken, an offensive tackle recruit out of Turpin (Cincinnati, OH) actually committed to UVa before leaving Charlottesville last weekend.

“Virginia was number one on my list, but I wasn’t sure if I would commit or not [heading into the junior day visit],” VanKuiken said on Monday. “I wanted to make an early decision, but I didn’t know it would be this early. I wanted to do it when I felt the time was right. I had a great time at UVa and decided to go ahead and commit. The coaches and players were great. The people were mainly why I chose Virginia.”

Westphal committed on Wednesday

Tyler Westphal (Menasha High School in Wisconsin), who chose UVa over offers from Minnesota and Western Michigan and serious interest from Florida, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, among others, made no secret of how impressed he was with the Virginia staff prior to the visit. According to Tyler’s father, Brad, it was very possible that he would commit before leaving Charlottesville.

Westphal had an outstanding visit and, on Wednesday, decided to go ahead and commit to Virginia.

“He couldn’t deny his feelings about Virginia,” Brad Westphal said on Wednesday. “He woke up [Wednesday] morning and said he wanted to commit. He said, ‘Let’s call Coach Mike, dad.'”

Tyler cancelled previously scheduled unofficial visits to Iowa and Minnesota and is very firm in his decision. In fact, he has already done some recruiting for Virginia. According to his father, Tyler has already called Westfield QB Mike Glennon. The two really hit it off last Saturday and actually plan on getting together this summer.

Brad, who is also the head football coach at Menasha, is excited for his son.

“I’m happy for him,” Brad said. “I’m very excited. As good a time as he had on the visit, I probably had just as good if not better of a time. I was really impressed.”

Coach Westphal actually sat between UVa’s two commitments from the