While Virginia has struggled at times this season with youthful mistakes and seemingly dumb penalties, there is most definitely hope for the future, as Mike London and staff have done a tremendous job in recruiting and upgrading the talent in the program.
Coach London has done this by making the famed "757" area code his main focus in recruiting. While this is his primary focus, he's also looking to recruit the entire state of Virginia better than Al Groh did in his tenure. As far as I'm concerned, I think London has done a fantastic job of doing this so far. The class of 2013 is shaping up to be a pretty good one and is headlined by 5-star running back Taquan "Smoke" Mizzell.
With the class pretty close to being wrapped up, it's a good time to look ahead to the ultra talented Class of 2014 and who some of the Cavs' main targets are or will be. Many of these guys have already received offers from UVA and many other schools, so competition is sure to be fierce. The Class of 2014 in Virginia is the strongest class for the state in many years. Mike London is looking to capitalize big time.
The rankings for this list are based on 247sports.com
1. Da'Shawn Hand - DE - Woodbridge (Woodbridge) - Hand is currently ranked as the #1 overall player in the class of 2014. He is a 6'5, 247 pound freak of nature at the defensive end position and will likely remain the #1 player through National Signing Day. As much as I hate to say this, Virginia Tech is currently his leader and he has offers from Alabama, Michigan, Clemson, and pretty much every other BCS school you can think of. He will likely be an immediate impact player the minute he steps onto a college football campus, but right now, he seems like a long shot for Mike London and the Cavs. I'm predicting he ends up with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
2. Andrew Brown - DT - Chesapeake (Oscar Smith) - Brown is currently ranked the #2 overall player in the class of 2014 and is another powerful and athletic defensive lineman. Brown is very solid against the run and can wreak havoc in the pocket. He has great size at 6'4, 282 pounds and has recently received offers from USC and Michigan. He camped at UVA over the summer and has visited campus numerous times, so don't count the Hoos out quite yet.
3. Quin Blanding - S - Virginia Beach (Bayside) - Blanding is currently ranked as the 6th best player in the class of 2014 and hails from the same high school as currently Cavaliers Tre' Nicholson, Henry Coley, and Anthony Cooper, and future Cavalier Taquan Mizzell. Blanding is a playmaker at the safety position and would be a huge get for Mike London and Co. He currently has UVA as his favorite, so stay tuned! I predict the Cavs score big here and get Blanding.
4. Caleb Henderson - QB - Alexandria (Lake Braddock Secondary) - Henderson is currently ranked as the 31st best player in the class of 2014 and the second-best pro-style quarterback in the class. His most notable offers are from UVA, VT, and Michigan State, and he recently visited the Spartans' campus. Henderson has a great arm and good size, but I'm not too sure QB will be a priority for UVA in this class with the riches of potential we have at the position. Look for Michigan State to get Henderson.
5. Jalyn Holmes - DE - Norfolk (Lake Taylor) - Holmes is currently ranked as the 34th best player in the class of 2014 and has UVA and VT as his top two schools. He also has offers from Clemson, NC State, UNC, and Vanderbilt, to name a few. He's an athletic pass rusher with a lot of potential who recently received a visit from the coaches of Alabama. I think the Hokies get a good one here.
6. Jamil Kamara - ATH - Virginia Beach (Princess Anne) - Kamara is currently ranked as the 93rd best player in the class of 2014 and will most likely end up playing wide receiver in college. He has offers from pretty much every school in the ACC and that's probably the conference he'll end up at, although LSU is showing some interest. He was in attendance for UVA's win over Penn State, and although it was a sloppy game for the Cavs, a win is a win. I think the Hoos steal one here.
7. Greer Martini - LB - Woodberry Forrest (Woodberry Forrest) - Martini is currently ranked as the 190th best player in the class of 2014 and is committed to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He could stand to add more bulk to his frame, but he's athletic and has good instincts for the position. He also had offers from NC State and Maryland and was drawing interest from Alabama, UNC, Stanford, UVA, and VT before pulling the trigger on the commitment.
8. Steven Moss - OL - Fredericksburg (Chancellor) - Moss is currently ranked as the 224th best player in the class of 2014 and he's a big, athletic OL prospect tackle or guard at the next level. He currently has offers from Clemson, NC State, UNC, South Carolina, UVA, VT, and West Virginia, among others. He recently visited UVA and enjoyed his trip, but this one is still far away from being over. Every school is pretty even for Moss so far in the recruiting process.
9. Vincent Mihota - DE - Fredericksburg (Massaponax) - Mihota is currently ranked as the 220th best player in the class of 2014 and if the name sounds familiar, it's because he's former Cavailier Anthony Mihota's brother. Vincent decided to choose the other side of the rivalry though, as he's been committed to VT since April. His commitment seems solid, so my prediction is pretty obvious. He will be a Hokie in college.
10. Ricky Walker - DT - Hampton (Bethel) - Walker is not ranked in the class of 2014, but he is ranked as the 16th best DT prospect. He's a bit undersized at 6'1, 270 pounds but he plays the game with a motor that never stops working. His two favorites right now are UNC and VT, but I see Larry Fedora getting a commitment from Walker over the Hokies.
Honorable Mention - Derrick Nnadi - DT - Virginia Beach (Ocean Lakes) - Nnadi is currently ranked as the 17th best DT in the class of 2014, one spot behind the aforementioned Walker. Nnadi is the same height, but has a bit more weight on his frame (305 lbs to be exact), and he recently named UVA his favorite. With former Ocean Lakes standout Eli Harold now being a Cavalier, I'm predicting Nnadi comes to Charlottesville and becomes an impact player down the road.