March 26, 2013

Class of 2014, Off to a Hot Start


I'll start this post off by saying that this is the class that has the potential to put UVA on the national scene. Bam! Are your expectations high enough now? Virginia is absolutely loaded for the 2014 recruiting cycle. According to 247Sports, the best recruiting service in the business, the state of Virginia boasts eleven 4-star recruits, and three 5-star recruits. The talent level is incredible. UVA has been building the foundation of this recruiting class since Mike London arrived in Charlottesville. UVA is already off to a hot start, nabbing two of the top ten in the state. The focus of this class is going to be quality over quantity, as there will finally be enough depth in the program to not need to sign 100 guys to make up for attrition. Let's dive into what we should expect from this class.

Commits: 4

QB Corwin Cutler (***) All indications are that stud QB recruit Corwin "Turtle" Cutler will be doing a prep season in order to put some space between he and Grayson Lambert and/or David Watford. If not for a torn ACL, Turtle would have obliterated every single passing record in the state of Virginia. He was a massively underrated recruit last cycle, and should get his due in this cycle.

DT Chris Nelson (***) Nelson was the first commit of the 2014 class. A teammate of sophomore linebacker Demetrie Brim, Nelson is starting to gain some momentum on the national scene. Nelson has been one of the more frustrating commitments, as he is constantly giving interviews talking about wanting to get offers from and visit bigger schools. Nelson will visit UVA for the spring game on April 6th, and I assume this situation will sort itself out. With a small class expected, Coach London can be selective. All that being said, there is a reason all this talk is being tolerated, and that is that Chris Nelson is pretty darn good. At almost 300 pounds, Nelson has been playing middle linebacker and running back. The kid can move. Those quick feet and ability to play in space will make him a menace on the line. There is not much film of him in his college position, so expect his rating to increase as game film comes in and he hits the summer camp circuit.

S Quin Blanding (*****) Remember when I mentioned putting UVA on the national scene? Well here is the kid that is going to do it. UVA has dominated Bayside high school of late (Henry Coley, Tra Nicholson, Anthony Cooper, Smoke Mizzell). Quin Blanding is an incredible prospect. Think Anthony Poindexter. Really think that. Though he may not be the ferocious hitter Dex was, Blanding has the chance to be that kind of player for this program. Expectations for him are out of this world, and he should be able to meet them.

G Steven Moss (****) Moss is the latest commitment to the Hoos, having committed on Saturday. He is an offensive line prospect out of Fredricksburg who is probably best suited to play guard at the next level. Moss is the #9 prospect in the state and is a huge pull for the Hoos. Moss was long thought to be leaning out of state, but the relationships that have been developed not only with the staff, but with the rest of the recruits as a whole, won out in the end.

Relationships are the key to this whole thing. Though the subject of some controversy, the 757 Sports Academy and the Thoroughbreds 7-on-7 team both contain the top talent in the state this year. Cutler and Blanding are both members of those organizations and they are the key to securing their exceptionally talented friends.

Top Remaining Targets:

DT Andrew Brown (*****) This is the prize of the class. For as good as Quin Blanding is, Andrew Brown is potentially even better. Brown has the size and strength to be a dominant defensive tackle, but also the speed to be a dominant defensive end. It is a lethal combination making him a very rare prospect and an elite-level talent. Brown is the cousin of Corwin Cutler and trains with the 757 Sports Academy.

DT Derrick Nnadi (****) Nnadi is a bull of a defensive tackle. He is exceptionally strong and will be able to eat up blockers at the point of attack. A product of Ocean Lakes and the 757 Sports Academy, Nnadi already has connections to UVA. However his father is a Virginia Tech alum, making this recruitment an interesting one to watch.

WR Jamil Kamara (****) This class will be heavy on the defensive side of the ball. However, Jamil Kamara is a special talent outside. He is big, fast, and has great hands. He also considers Quin Blanding his "twin." Kamara plays with the Thoroughbreds and trains with the 757 Sports Academy.

DE Jayln Holmes (****) This kid is a freak. He's long been considered a Virginia Tech lean, but UVA is making some progress. He trains with the 757 Academy and the relationships with other players are going to be the biggest key to making progress with Holmes. Holmes has a chance to be feared in the ACC. Thinking about him paired with Eli Harold is terrifying.

CB D'Andre Payne (****) Though he is a DC kid, Payne also has a solid relationship with the kids from the 757. Payne's father also has a good relationship with Chip West, which is always good for the Hoos.

ATH CJ Reavis (****) Reavis is another player who was considered a heavy Tech lean. However, he recently has opened things up and UVA seems to be in the mix.

K Gary Wunderlich Brace yourselves. This is a scholarship kicker. Normally we hate this, however if we have to use a scholarship on someone, Wunderlich is the one. He is the #1 kicker and punter prospect for this cycle and may actually be worth a scholarship. It would be nice to not have to get to the ten yard line to score.

DE Jeremiah Clarke (***) Clarke is a popular recruit of late. Another Northern Virginia prospect, Clarke attends T.C. Williams, which is the school from Remember the Titans. There's not really a point to that last part, I just think it's cool. Clarke is an underrated talent at 3 stars and one we like a lot.

S M.J. Stewart (****) Speaking of NOVA kids... MJ Stewart goes to my rival high school, but I guess I can look past that. He's extremely skilled and is looking to enroll early. Stewart also has a strong relationship with Quin Blanding.

Others:
There are other names to be aware of. We'll list them here:

4-star DE Melvin Keihn (Baltimore, MD)
4-star OG Quenton Nelson (Red Bank, NJ)
4-star QB Caleb Henderson (Burke, VA)
Unranked OL Will Richardson (Burlington, NC)

That is a ton of talent on the board right now. UVA is in a great spot with most of these guys. Gary Wunderlich is taking a visit to Texas A&M soon and will decide after that. He is the most likely to commit next, but Jamil Kamara is also one to keep an eye on. He is as close to a lock as you can be, without actually committing. Should be a great year!

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