Taquan Mizzell was Virginia's top 2013 target, and they landed him - 247Sports
Today marks the end of the 2013 recruiting class, and we look back at the year that was in Virginia recruiting for this cycle.
Virginia lands Smoke
Taquan Mizzell turned out to be UVa's top target for the 2013 recruiting class, and they were able to land him. Virginia led the whole way in Smoke's recruitment, and they were able to hold off UNC, Clemson, West Virginia and others to land him. Mizzell is the first Rivals 5-star that Virginia has signed since Eugene Monroe in 2005. Mizzell has the ability to change games with his speed and agility, and he could be deadly in the punt return game. Mizzell is close with several players who are already playing at UVa as well as many in the 2014 cycle. We'll see if Mizzell's commitment to Virginia helps the Hoos land his teammate, 5-star safety Quin Blanding, in the 2014 cycle.
Hoos sign Good Counsel Trio
Virginia signed 3 players from prep powerhouse Good Counsel (MD): wide receiver Andre Levrone, defensive back Kirk Garner, and quarterback Brendan Marshall. Good Counsel churns out tons of talent every year, and UVa was able to capitalize on that this year. The Olney, MD program also put out 5-star cornerback Kendall Fuller and 4-star linebacker Dorian O'Daniel in 2013. Virginia signed 3 really solid players from the Falcons' program this year, and this cold pay dividends down the line for the Hoos recruiting at the school.
Virginia loses two, but flips four
Virginia lost two players originally committed for the 2013 class, for very different reasons. Guard Brad Henson committed to UVa back in June, but flipped to rival UNC in December. Henson's lead recruiter Shawn Moore was let go, and he took a "secret" visit to Chapel Hill, before flipping to the Tar Heels. Virginia then parted ways with cornerback Hipolito Corporan in January, after he took an official visit to Utah. The staff told Corporan that they didn't want him going to Salt Lake City, but he chose to do so anyway. UVa did flip four players from other schools though. Zach Bradshaw dropped Penn State for Virginia after the NCAA Sanctions were levied on the Nittany Lion program. Connor Wingo-Reeves was offered by the Hoos in January, and committed, backing out of his pledge to Temple. Eric Tetlow flipped from Wake Forest to Virginia on Signing Day, and George Adeosun decommitted from William & Mary after an explosion of FBS offers late. He chose UVa over Georgia on Signing Day. The four players that UVa got back from other programs more than make up for losing Corporan and Henson.
Two more signal-callers in 2013
Virginia already had a bunch of quarterbacks on Grounds, but signed two more quarterbacks in the 2013 class. Corwin Cutler and Brendan Marshall, two three star quarterbacks, both sent their LOIs into the McCue Center this morning. The pervasive thought coming into the cycle was that Virginia would probably land one of the Commonwealth's three highest rated QB's: Ryan Burns, Christian Hackenberg or Bucky Hodges. Instead, they signed with Stanford, Penn State and Virginia Tech respectively. The two guys that UVa signed are really solid, and Cutler is probably one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the nation. Obviously with the depth at the position the two newcomers will have to fight hard for practice reps, and eventually compete for on-field time down the road.
Hoos miss out on Teller
Virginia got a bunch of players they wanted, but, like in any recruiting cycle, missed on a few they wanted too. The most noteable of them was Wyatt Teller, who seemed to be leaning towards Virginia before signing with Virginia Tech in the summer. Teller grew up a Hokies fan, but visited Charlottesville several times before making his decision. In the end, his family ties to Virginia Tech proved to be too much for UVa to overcome. Teller is an outstanding player, and losing him to your arch-rival had to sting.
Cavaliers add talented DBs
Virginia did a great job adding talent to the secondary, by signing Tim Harris, Kirk Garner and Malcolm Cook. All three of these prospects are rated 4-stars by at least one recruiting service. Harris jumped on board early after leaning towards the Cavaliers for a long time. Garner had a ton of big offers before picking UVa over the summer. Cook had no offers before camping in Charlottesville and getting one from the Wahoos, but he had a tremendous senior season and got some late interest from other schools. All three of these players could be real assets to Jon Tenuta's aggressive scheme, where turnovers will be paramount to the defense's success.
Attrition limited despite staff shakeup
Virginia had a ton of turnover on its coaching staff this offseason, firing four coaches in December and losing Bill Lazor to the NFL last week. Still, attrition was limited to only two players, and only one decommitted on their own. A bunch of players considered looking around and were shocked or upset with the staff changes, but Coach London and the new staff did a great job reassuring these players that UVa is the best place for them. In other situations like this around the country, teams seem a mass exodous of recruits leaving to play at other places. Virginia kept their class down the the stretch, showing that even with poor on-field results in 2012 and a coaching staff shakeup, Mike London and the coaching staff can still sell the program to prospects.