Cavalier Corner

April 2012

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QUALITY CONTROL The Cavaliers Reel In Second Straight Top-25 Class BY SHANE METTLEN N O ASPECT OF recruiting — whether it is identifying and wooing prospects, or rank- ing the completed classes — is an exact science. One would need to be a clairvoy- ant to look at a teenage football player and predict exactly what the next four years or so is going to bring. With that said, it's nearly impossible to deny that some experts have come pretty close to figuring it out. Recruiting rankings aren't gospel, but a quick look through the record books reveals that more often than not the college football programs that bring in top-25 recruiting classes also field top-25 teams. No wonder Mike London has been so excited. On Feb. 1, the Virginia head football coach officially announced the second Cavaliers re- cruiting class in a row ranked in the top 25 by multiple major recruiting services. Coming off a surprising run to the Chick-fil-A Bowl — with a few first-year players making key contributions — Virginia football has a future that looks bright. National Signing Day came and went without any surprises for London and the Cavs, who had their 26-man class committed and in place for weeks before the first day prospects could fax in their National Letters of Intent and make their college choices official. Of course, none of that made the recruiting process any less stressful for London, who said anticipation of signing day kept him up the night before. "It's never stress free," said the UVa coach, who hosted a celebration with Cavaliers fans at John Paul Jones Arena after all the letters arrived. "I watched some of the basketball game last night, picked up my son, got some Five Guys, watched Jay Leno do his open- ing monologue, watched some Sally Jessy Raphael. "We worry about things we can't control. 16 ◆ CAVALIER CORNER Defensive end Michael Moore, the son of former UVa standout Shawn Moore, is one of seven signees who received a four-star rating from at least one recruiting service. PHOTO BY LANCE CPL. CHELSEA FLOWERS You are always worried if somebody got to your young men. Now I'm not worried, because they are all signed, but until that happened it's an anxiety and an anticipation of what's to come." Once again the Cavaliers did well recruit- ing the state of Virginia. Half of the class came from the Commonwealth, and London "Let's face it, players recruit other players. We like to think its stadium size and bowl rings and stuff like that, but good players recruit other players. This particular class, it kind of landed 10 players from the Hampton Roads area — also known as "The 757" — alone. That included Virginia Beach defen- sive end Eli Harold, considered the No. 22 overall player in the nation according to 247Sports. Harold, a 6-4, 215-pound pass rusher extraordinaire, had a dominating career at Ocean Lakes High School, re- cording 16 sacks last fall before showing his skills at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 7. ranked him as the fifth-best weakside defensive end in the nation. Nearly every program in the country snowballed." HEAD COACH MIKE LONDON wanted Harold and not letting him get away — unlike many of the state's top prospects before him — was a high priority for London and company. It paid off in more ways than one. Harold was among the first players in the class of 2012 to pledge his commitment to the Cava- liers, and he was soon working the phone and

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