Every year in mid-January, the Virginia football coaching staff tries to get as many of their committed prospects as possible and potentially a few uncommitted players as well, to take an official visit on the same weekend. This weekend is that weekend for the 2013 cycle.
All twenty of Virginia's 2013 commits are expected on Grounds this weekend. That includes linebacker LaChaston Smith, who is already enrolled and taking classes at UVa this semester. The Cavaliers' two prep players, Tyrell Chavis and Max Valles, who both signed in the 2012 class but attended Fork Union Military Academy in the fall, are included in that group. The only prospect committed to Virginia who had previously used their one allowable official visit to Charlottesville was Houston native Hipolito Corporan, who had his UVa offer pulled over the weekend.
This weekend usually serves as a galvanizing event for the committed prospects, reminding them of what sold them on UVa in the first place. It can also alleviate some worries that a few committed prospects may have about sticking with the Hoos, and convince them that Virginia is in fact the best place for them. After the major overhaul of the coaching staff following a disappointing 4-8 season, there was plenty of cause for concern about the stability of the 2013 class. Now, it seems like most of the class is rock solid, and only a few are wavering.
So who is solid and who might be looking at other options? Here's how it all breaks down.
Locks to sign with Virginia on National Signing Day (Alphabetically):
- Zach Bradshaw (LB, Damascus, MD)
- Corwin Cutler (QB, Virginia Beach, VA)
- Jack English (DE, Richmond, VA)
- Kirk Garner (DB, Olney, MD)
- Keeon Johnson (WR, Kannapolis, NC)
- Zack Jones (WR, Chesapeake, VA)
- Micah Kiser (LB, Baltimore, MD)
- Andre Levrone (WR, Olney, MD)
- Brendan Marshall (QB, Olney, MD)
- Jack McDonald (OL, Dorchester, MA)
- Taquan Mizzell (RB, Virginia Beach, VA)
- Sadiq Olanrewaju (OL, Salisbury, CT)
- Eric Smith (OL, Decatur, GA)
- LaChaston Smith (LB, Statesville, NC) EARLY ENROLLEE
- Max Valles (ATH, Hammonton, NJ)
- Connor Wingo-Reeves (ATH, Richmond, VA)
There had been rumors at various times that Kiser, McDonald and Valles were looking around at other schools, but they have since solidified their commitment to the Cavaliers. With these 16 players squarely in the fold, that leaves four that are not such sure things.
Tyrell Chavis signed with the Cavaliers last year out of Varina High School in Richmond, and prepped this season at Fork Union to improve his academic standing. He seemed really solidly committed to Virginia until Jim Reid and Jeff Hanson were fired following the season. Then, he openly started looking at other options and possible official visits. At one point he even considered himself decommitted from UVa. Since then, he has backed off those statements somewhat, but has also scheduled an official visit to Virginia Tech for next weekend. At this point Chavis probably isn't that great of a flight risk, and ultimately he will probably stick with the Hoos.
Likelihood of signing with UVa: 80%
Malcolm Cook, probably the most underrated player in Virginia's 2013 class, has been looking around as well. He considered official visits to Clemson and possibly Wake Forest, but it looks like he will only visit Charlottesville this weekend, and travel with Chavis to Blacksburg next weekend. Like Chavis, Cook was upset at Reid's dismissal immediately after he was let go, but cooler heads have seemed to prevail since then. Recently there were some rumors that Cook would decommit from Virginia, but he quickly shot those rumors down on twitter, and it seemed like he was more committed than ever to being a Cavalier. Barring a late reversal, expect Cook to stay in the fold, and have a significant impact in his freshman season.
Likelihood of signing with UVa: 90%
Tim Harris, one of Virginia's earliest commits in the 2013 cycle, was also upset with Virginia's decision to let Jim Reid go. Other schools, particularly North Carolina, came after Harris hard, and were able to get him to commit to an official visit to Chapel Hill for next weekend. First, Harris will visit Charlottesville, and his flirtations with other schools could end there. Harris, like Chavis and Cook, were directly recruited to Virginia by Jim Reid, and once the sting of his departure wore off a bit, Harris started to seem more solid to the Hoos. If other commits are successful in getting in Harris' ear about sticking with Virginia this weekend, I'd say there's a great chance that visit to Chapel Hill doesn't take place at all.
Likelihood of signing with UVa: 95%
Donta Wilkins was originally scheduled to visit North Carolina last weekend but had to postpone the visit to attend the funeral of a family member. Wilkins changed the visit to next weekend, following his trip to Charlottesville. The Woodbridge native was looking at other visits before the coaching staff shakeup, but as we get closer to signing day, there probably isn't a lot to be worried about here. Wilkins will end up at Virginia barring a major change.
Likelihood of signing with UVa: 95%