As we all patiently wait for the football season to begin in ernest, we also sit in one of the slowest portions of the year for football and basketball recruiting. Most of the football class is already on board, and basketball recruting has slowed down as the camp season has come to an end. Still, there's plenty to talk about in the world of Virginia recruiting. Check out the latest headlines in today's Recruiting Notes.
Virginia makes the cut for Austin Nichols
Virginia Men's Basketball got some good news over the weekend, when blue-chip 2013 big man Austin Nichols announced his final six choices, and the Cavaliers were among them. Memphis, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Duke and Auburn round out Nichols' top six choices. After Virginia target Schuyler Rimmer committed to Florida recently, it's all hands on deck for Nichols. The Virginia staff would love to add the Memphis native to the 2013 class, partnering with star point guard commit Devon Hall. As far as Nichols' recruitment goes, the local option would probably be Tennessee, with Austin's older sister attending the school. Duke is expected to be a major factor, as Nichols has admitted to really admiring Coach K's program. So, where does Virginia fit in? Nichols has offers from tons of power schools, and no direct ties to Virginia, so the fact that UVA is still in the mix says a lot about his relationship with the staff. Nichols is set to take official visits to his finalists this fall, and then make his decision. He is undecided on whether he will sign his letter of intent in the early signing period or not. If Virginia gets a visit, it will be up to the staff to wow Nichols, and possibly steal his commitment from several other strong suitors.
Taquan Mizzell Announcement Looms
We are now just one week away from the college announcement of Virginia's biggest 2013 football target, Taquan Mizzell. On August 21st, "Smoke" will announce for Virginia, North Carolina or West Virginia at his high school in Virginia Beach. At this point, Cavalier fans should feel fantastic about their chances to land the Bayside star. Mizzell has visited UNC once and has never been to Morgantown, but has been to Charlottesville quite a few times in the past year. "Smoke" is close with fellow Bayside alums Demetrious Nicholson and Anthony Cooper, who are now Cavaliers. Unless Mizzell takes a last minute trip to West Virginia and is blown away, I see him making the call for Virginia next week.
Linebackers need Addressed in 2013 class
Coming into the 2013 recruiting cycle, there was no doubt that linebacker was the biggest need for the Cavaliers. That need has now been addressed. Virginia has secured verbal commitments from three linebackers; Micah Kiser, LaChaston Smith, and former Penn State commit Zach Bradshaw for 2013. Yes, Virginia did miss out on target Oren Burks, who committed to Vanderbilt over the weekend, but the addition of Bradshaw pretty much nullifies the sting of that loss. All three linebackers are rated as high three-star prospects by Rivals and 247sports, and all have really impressive offer lists. Virginia did miss on several four-star targets, notably Peter Kalambayi and Larenz Bryant, but the linebacker haul is solid nonetheless. In fact, the last two classes have provided Virginia with at least a two-deep worth of depth at the position, with the 2013 commits joining current freshmen Demetrie Brim, Mark Hall and Kwontie Moore on Grounds next fall.
What's left for 2013?
Besides Taquan Mizzell, there isn't much left for Virginia's 2013 class. Wyatt Teller is still a priority target, but he's gone quiet lately and his status remains in limbo. Athlete Daesean Hamilton is very interested in Virginia, but seems in no hurry to decide. Defensive Tackle Tevin Montgomery will visit Virginia soon, and that may be one to watch. There's always the chance of a player decommiting from a school and reconsidering Virginia, but those are too hard to predict usually. And for those wondering about whether Virginia would get involved with blue-chip quarterback Christian Hackenberg if he decides to decommit from Penn State, my guess would be no. UVA has two quarterback commits already, and neither of them seem to be wavering. We'll see if long shot targets like cornerback Priest Willis emerge down the road, but expect a quiet close to the 2013 cycle, not dissimilar from the end of the 2012 cycle.
Virginia commits and targets in the spotlight this month
If you've been hoping for a chance to see some of Virginia's commits and targets in action this fall, you're in luck. The ESPN family of networks is broadcasting a bunch of high school games next weekend as part of their ESPN High School Football Kickoff Special. Here's a list of games featuring UVA targets or commits and where you can find them on your television next weekend.
Friday, August 24th : Good Counsel (Garner, Levrone, Marshall) @ Bishop Gorman (9:00 pm on ESPN2)
Saturday, August 25th: Fork Union Military Academy (Cook) vs. Hermitage (3:00pm on ESPNU)
Saturday, August 25th: Oscar Smith (Z. Jones, A. Brown) vs. Byrnes (7:00pm on ESPN)
Sunday, August 26th: Gilman (Kiser) vs. Moeller (7:00pm on ESPNU)