Cavalier Corner

April 2017

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APRIL 2017 ◆ 19 BY BRAD FRANKLIN W HEN HE ENTERED HIS first full recruiting cycle as the head coach at Vir- ginia, Bronco Mendenhall was clear on the needs his staff had to focus on. But the way they went about addressing those needs wasn't to solely focus on stars and rankings, but also versatility and fit. That's the essence of the 25-member recruiting class that the Cavaliers brought in Feb. 1, highlighted by the fact that Men- denhall welcomed three of his top sign- ees for the start of the second semester in Charlottesville. "In looking back at the class that I spoke to you a year ago about, the way that I would frame that class now, is a transitional class," Mendenhall said on National Sign- ing Day. "In contrast, I would say this class would be foundational. I think that's the word that resonated most with me in how to describe it, meaning that we have great relationships with this class. "We found most of them relatively early, from the moment I was hired, and they un- derstood and listened and believed in the vision of our program and with the excep- tion of very, very few, as was the case in my previous job, very few decommitments." Winston-Salem (N.C.) Carver three-star cornerback Germane Crowell, a UVA leg- acy as the son of former wide receiver Ger- mane Crowell Sr., was the team's biggest recruit. He chose the Cavaliers over offers from Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Mary- land, Notre Dame, Penn State and Virginia Tech, among many others. The 6-3, 185 pounder — who was listed as a four-star talent and the No. 29 athlete na- tionally by ESPN — played both quarterback and corner for his father at Carver, throwing for more than 2,000 yards and 23 touch- downs and rushing for another 775 yards and 10 scores, while also making 50 tackles and intercepting three passes. He figures to give Virginia depth at cornerback and allow Mendenhall and defensive backs coach Nick Howell to move Juan Thornhill to safety. Joining Crowell in enrolling early at UVA were a pair of three-star running backs: Lamont Atkins and Jamari Peacock. Atkins, a 5-11, 195-pound all-purpose back from Burke, Va., was tabbed as the DC Touchdown Club and Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia after rushing for 1,905 yards and 31 touchdowns. He averaged 12 yards per carry to help Lake Braddock go 11-2 and reach the Virginia 6A North region semifinal. Atkins — Rivals' No. 28 prospect in the state of Virginia — had offers from Boston College, Illinois, Northwestern, Syracuse and Vanderbilt, among others, before com- mitting to the Cavaliers during the spring football festival last year. Peacock, meanwhile, comes to Virginia from Yulee (Fla.) High, where he was a standout running back and linebacker, and picked up offers from Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Miami, Nebraska, Oregon State and South Carolina, among others. The 6-0, 245-pounder — who was tabbed as the nation's No. 5 fullback by Rivals — was the second-leading rusher in northern Florida in 2016 with 1,876 yards and 33 touchdowns. He should be in line to be the team's starter at the "big back" position this coming fall thanks to the graduation of graduate transfer Albert Reid. The running back class also got a boost from the addition of three-star Winchester, 2017 UVA FOOTBALL SIGNEES Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Mandy Alonso DL 6-2 290 Miami (Gulliver Prep) 3-star recruit according to 247Sports, ESPN and Scout Lamont Atkins* RB 5-11 200 Burke, Va. (Lake Braddock) Consensus 3-star prospect and the 2016 Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year Joey Blount DB 6-2 180 Fayetteville, Ga. (Landmark Christian) 3-star talent and No. 69 athlete nationally according to 247Sports Darrius Bratton DB 6-1 160 Roanoke, Va. (Fleming/Fork Union Military 3-star recruit according to ESPN Elliott Brown LB 6-6 220 Odenton, Md. (Flowers/Taft School [Conn.]) 3-star prospect and No. 105 outside linebacker in the country according to ESPN Isaac Buell DL 6-4 260 Knoxville, Tenn. (Knoxville Central) 3-star talent and No. 66 strongside defensive end in the nation according to 247Sports Riah Burton* DB 6-1 180 New Castle, Del. (William Penn) 3-star recruit and No. 4 player in Delaware according to 247Sports Tommy Christ DL 6-5 270 Sterling, Va. (Dominion) Consensus 3-star recruit and No. 62 defensive tackle in the land according to ESPN Germane Crowell* DB 6-3 185 Winston-Salem, N.C. (Carver) 4-star talent and No. 29 athlete nationally according to ESPN Brian Delaney K 5-11 200 Chantilly, Va. (Westfield) 5-star prospect, and No. 1 punter and No. 2 kicker in the land according to Kohl's Kicking Tyler Fannin OL 6-3 290 Hoschton, Ga. (Mill Creek) Consensus 3-star talent and No. 9 center nationally according to Rivals Matt Gahm LB 6-3 225 Highland Park, Texas (Highland Park) Consensus 3-star prospect and No. 60 inside linebacker in the country according to ESPN Chris Glaser OL 6-4 255 Solon, Ohio (Solon) Consensus 3-star recruit and No. 37 offensive guard in the nation according to Rivals Terrell Jana WR/DB 6-1 190 Burnaby, British Columbia (Woodberry Forest [Va.]) Consensus 3-star talent and No. 24 player in Virginia according to ESPN PK Kier RB 5-11 200 Winchester, Va. (Millbrook) 3-star prospect and No. 36 player in Virginia according to Rivals John Kirven DL 6-5 260 Raleigh, N.C. (Woodberry Forest [Va.]) 3-star talent and No. 34 prospect in Virginia according to ESPN Ryan Nelson OL 6-5 280 Buena Park, Calif. (Buena Park) Consensus 3-star recruit and No. 37 offensive tackle nationally according to 247Sports Jamari Peacock* RB 6-0 245 Yulee, Fla. (Yulee) Consensus 3-star prospect and No. 5 fullback in country according to Rivals Darnell Pratt WR 6-3 170 Ellicott City, Md. (Good Counsel) Consensus 2-star recruit and two-time track All-American in the 200-meter dash Shawn Smith WR 5-11 175 Brunswick, Ga. (Brunswick) 4-star talent and No. 27 athlete nationally according to ESPN Charles Snowden LB 6-7 200 Silver Spring, Md. (St. Alban's School) Consensus 3-star prospect and No. 68 defensive end in the country according to ESPN Lindell Stone QB 6-2 205 Dallas (Woodberry Forest [Va.]) Consensus 3-star recruit and No. 25 pro-style quarterback nationally according to Rivals Ryan Swoboda OL 6-10 270 Windermere, Fla. (Windermere Prep) Consensus 3-star talent and No. 94 offensive tackle in the land according to ESPN Gerrik Vollmer OL 6-5 280 Hamburg, Germany (Taft School [Conn.]) 3-star prospect and the No. 99 offensive tackle in the country according to ESPN Zane Zandier LB 6-3 205 Pittsburgh (Thomas Jefferson) 4-star talent and No. 29 outside linebacker nationally according to ESPN * Enrolled in January 2017

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