Much has been written over the past few years about how talented the 2014 class in the Commonwealth is, and how it was a tremendous opportunity for the Hoos to reel in an elite signing class. So far, the UVa staff is taking advantage of their opportunity.
The Blanding Effect
Landing 5-star safety Quin Blanding was huge for the Virginia program for a few different reasons. First, obviously his on-the-field impact should be tremendous. SBNation Recruiting analyst Bud Elliot said that he felt that Blanding probably could have started in the Cavalier secondary as a junior in high school, and I'd have to agree with that assessment. He should be able to contribute from day one at safety. But Blanding also has drawn some national attention to the Virginia program, being the highest rated prospect off the board thus far.
Blanding said when he chose Virginia that he wanted to start recruiting for the Cavs right away. Well, those efforts are already paying off. Quin has a strong relationship with fellow Top-100 Virginian, Steven Moss, who gave his pledge to UVa over the weekend. Moss, a talented offensive lineman from Fredericksburg, had tons of offers from national programs, but the appeal of staying close to home and being part of a special class was enough to make him a Wahoo. Steven Moss was one of the elite talents that Blanding said that he would target to join him in Charlottesville, and their friendship certainly didn't hurt Virginia's chances in the lineman's recruitment.
UVa Leads for #1 Kicker
A few other talented 2014 prospects were on Grounds over the weekend, and one of them could be the next Virginia commitment. Gary Wunderlich, who is ranked as the #1 kicker in the nation, is a UVa legacy and holds an offer from the Cavaliers. It's not often that kickers and punters get scholarship offers out of high school, but Wunderlich is an elite talent at the position. The Memphis native Wunderlich also holds an offer Texas A&M, and will visit College Station before making his decision. If he doesn't ultimately chose the Cavaliers, it would come as a surprise to many. Wunderlich grew up a Viriginia fan, and seems to be a great fit in the UVa program. Expect the Wahoos to reel in the nation's #1 kicker, which should be a big help to a special teams unit that has been woeful in recent years.
Chris Nelson Looking Around?
The Cavaliers are trying to hold on to their first commitment for the 2014 class, defensive tackle Chris Nelson. Nelson, a Sunshine State native, has a great relationship with Virginia linebacker Demetrie Brim, and that played a big role in Nelson's early commitment. Since making the call for the Hoos, Nelson has picked up offers from Kentucky, Purdue, USF, Louisville and Purdue. The 3-star defensive tackle has visited Florida and a few other schools, and doesn't seem totally sold on sticking with Virginia. Another visit to Charlottesville this spring could help solidify Nelson's commitment, but if the big in-state programs in Florida come calling, Nelson could end up elsewhere. Defensive tackle is UVa's biggest need for 2014, and it would be huge to be able to hold onto Nelson until Signing Day. Right now, Virginia fans should be in wait-and-see mode with Nelson, as his recruitment could have several twists and turns with Signing Day still more than 10 months away.