Cavalier Corner

April 2017

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20 ◆ CAVALIER CORNER Va., native PK Kier. The 5-11, 200-pounder — the No. 36 player in Virginia according to Rivals — carried the ball 141 times for 1,194 yards and 15 touchdowns on the way to second-team 4A all-state honors. In his career at Millbrook, Kier amassed 3,582 career rushing yards on 501 carries for an average of 7.09 yards per carry, while also scoring 50 touchdowns. Between Kier, Atkins, and Peacock, UVA has easily one of its deepest, most accomplished running back classes in school history. A big focus for UVA in the 2017 class was on the offensive line, an area where the program needed not only talent but also numbers. Mendenhall was able to secure the signa- tures of five recruits in this class — Tyler Fannin of Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek, Chris Glaser of Solon (Ohio) High, Ryan Nelson of Buena Park (Calif.) High, Ryan Swoboda of Windmere (Fla.) Prep and Gerrik Vollmer of Watertown (Conn.) The Taft School — plus three graduate transfers that will be eligible to play this fall — Notre Dame's John Montelus and Colin McGovern, and Oklahoma State's Brandon Pertile. "Offensive line was a huge need for us this year, and so we addressed that and again, multi-faceted with grad transfers and young players," Mendenhall said. "With the young players, there are those that are ready to play and there are those that are a little more developmental, and that's not by accident. "We are looking to tier the success plan- ning as clearly and precisely as we can." The best of that group is Nelson, a 6-5, 280-pound tackle. Easily the highest rated of the high school recruits — a three-star talent and the No. 37 offensive tackle na- tionally according to 247Sports — he chose UVA over offers from Arizona, Cal, Colo- rado, Iowa State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oregon State, Utah and Washington State, among others. Fannin, a three-star guard/center, helped Mill Creek to a 13-1 record and a semifinal appearance in the 7A state playoffs for the second year in a row, while Swoboda might be the most intriguing prospect the Cava- liers inked. Listed at 6-10 and 270 pounds, he's easily the tallest recruit to sign with UVA football. He helped Windermere Prep (10-1) advance to the semifinals of the Florida Sunshine State division, while garnering a first-team all-con- ference honor from The Orlando Sentinel. One other big storyline for the Cavaliers in the 2017 class was the trio of talented three-stars the program got from nearby Woodberry Forest — quarterback Lindell Stone, wide receiver/defensive back Terrell Jana, and defensive end John Kirven. Stone, a 6-2, 205-pound native of Dallas, finished his career breaking the Virginia Independent School record for career pass- ing yards and passing touchdowns, and set every prep league and Woodberry Forest passing record both for a career and in a season. He completed 215 of 330 passes for 3,380 yards with 38 touchdowns as a senior. Stone played for Team USA's U19 team in the inaugural North American Champion- ship against Canada in January. Rivals' No. 25 pro-style quarterback na- tionally chose UVA over offers from Cin- cinnati, Indiana, Maryland, Ole Miss, Pitt, Purdue, UCLA, West Virginia and Wiscon- sin, among others. Jana — a native of Burnaby, British Co- lumbia —could factor on either side of the ball. The 6-1, 190-pound athlete played wideout and corner at Woodberry Forest, where he caught 64 passes for 1,308 yards and 19 touchdowns last fall. He led the team with 1,545 all-purpose yards in addition to his 11 tackles on de- fense to wrap up a two-time Virginia Inde- pendent School all-state career. ESPN rated Jana as the No. 24 prospect in the Commonwealth. He chose Virginia over offers from Marshall, Maryland and Old Dominion. Kirven — the No. 34 recruit in Virginia according to ESPN —committed to the school's previous staff as a tight end before ultimately reopening his recruitment only to eventually choose the Cavaliers again when he was offered on defense. The 6-6, 260 pounder, whose older brother Caid was a walk-on for several years on the UVA hoops team, recorded 31 tack- les (seven for loss) last fall. He chose the Hoos over offers from Illinois, North Caro- lina State, Pitt, Syracuse and UCF, among others. Joining Kirven on the defensive side of the ball will be a pair of important line- backer signees in three-stars Zane Zandier and Matt Gahm. The 6-3, 205-pound Zandier is from Pitts- burgh and could play in a variety of roles in Mendenhall's 3-4 scheme. He made 46 tackles and had one interception for Thomas Jefferson on the way to a WPIAL 4A cham- pionship last fall. Zandier — who was tabbed as a four-star recruit and the No. 29 outside linebacker nationally by ESPN — also was a first- team all-state pick at wide receiver, where he caught 44 passes for 900 yards and 19 touchdowns. He picked Virginia over offers from Boston College, Kansas, Syracuse and West Virginia, among others. Gahm projects as an inside linebacker at UVA and could see early playing time there this season. The 6-3, 225-pounder — ranked as a three-star talent and the No. 60 inside linebacker nationally by ESPN — is physi- cally prepared to play as a first-year. He helped Highland Park (Texas) High win the 2016 5A D1 state title, and was credited with 109 tackles, six sacks and two interceptions. He chose UVA over offers from Air Force, Army, New Mexico and Richmond, as well as interest from Texas and TCU. The Cavaliers also did well in their 2017 class at the skill positions, bringing in a pair of game-changing receiver talents in Shawn Smith and Darnell Pratt. Smith, a 5-11 and 175-pound three-star from Brunswick (Ga.) High, was formerly committed to South Carolina before ulti- mately picking the Hoos over offers from Burke (Va.) Lake Braddock running back Lamont Atkins headlines a deep and tal- ented running backs class. He rushed for 1,905 yards and 31 touchdown while also leading his team in tackles (61) en route to being named the top player in the Commonwealth in 2016 by both Gatorade and the DC Touchdown Club. PHOTO BY JIM DAVES/COURTESY UVA

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