2014 Out-Of-State Targets
The Cavaliers have already landed four out-of-state prospects for the 2014 class, with Caanan Brown, Jordan Ellis, Will Richardson and Gary Wunderlich on board. Much has been said about UVa's top in-state targets, led Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown, but there are plenty of really important recruits from outside the Commonwealth as well. Let's take a look at who's left out there on the board for the Hoos:
Marcus Applefield (OT, Weeki Wachee, FL): The Sunshine State native visited Charlottesville last week, and seemed to enjoy his visit. Applefield has been somewhat non-committal on naming leaders, but UVa seems to be positioned well to stick around in his recruitment. Applefield has also been offered by Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Missouri and many others, and has a bunch of visits planned for this summer.
Melvin Keihn (LB, Baltimore, MD): The Gilman product is arguably Virginia's #1 out-of-state target on the board at this point. The Gilman 4-star prospect has recently visited both Virginia and Maryland, and apparently the Cavs and the Terps are the leaders for Keihn's services. Keihn is working his way towards a decision, and it could come at any time now. Others in contention include Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Michigan State and others. At this point, Virignia is probably the favorite to land Keihn, but the idea of playing for the home school at Maryland cannot be discounted. UVa has built a nice pipeline into Gilman, landing Darius Jennings and Micah Kiser from the school in recently years.
Kiy Hester (FS, Montvale, NJ): The four-star safety named a top-7 recently, and the Hoos were included, along with Ohio State, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Miami, UNC, and Michigan State. Hester has been open to Virginia for a long time, and its not a total surprise that he lists the Cavaliers among his top schools. UVa would probably need to get Hester on Grounds this summer in order to land him though.
Cameron Phillips (WR, Hyattsville, MD): The Dematha Catholic star has listed Virginia amongst his top schools for a long time now. Phillips named UVa, Penn State and UNC as his top three schools a while back, and there hasn't been much change of late. Phillips plans to visit several schools this summer, and remains a top target for UVa. Phillips could end up at Virginia, but it would be a stretch to call them a clear favorite at this point.
Mike Johnson (DB, Clearwater, FL): Johnson named a top-10 a few days ago, and UVa made the cut. Also in the list were Florida State (the favorite at this point), Louisville, Vanderbilt, Arizona, Rutgers, UCF, Texas Tech, Syracuse and Purdue. Johnson seems open to the Cavaliers, but the Seminoles are widely considered the heavy favorite to land the Clearwater native.
Justus Reed (DE, Clearwater, FL): Another Clearwater native, Reed visited Charlottesville earlier this week, and seemed to enjoy his time on Grounds. Florida is considered the favorite to land Reed, who has a really impressive offer sheet for a 3-star player. Reed is a teammate of UVa commit Caanan Brown, and that will help Virginia keep themselves in the thick of it for Reed. This would be a major coup if the Hoos could snag Reed out of Florida, but don't get your hopes up too high at this point.
Jeffrey Farrar (ATH, Upland, CA): Farrar is genuinely interested in the Cavaliers, and is planning to visit in the summer. Farrar has a bunch of offers from Pac-12 schools, and it will be interesting if the Hoos can hang around having to compete against local options for the Upland athlete.
Kurt Holuba (DE, Oradell, NJ): Holuba got an offer from the Cavaliers a few weeks ago, and has ties to the school. His sister attended UVa Law School, and his father is an alum as well. Holuba has a ton of impressive offers, including Florida State, Wisconsin and others. There is a familiarity between Holuba and UVa, but Virginia probably still has some work to do to land the New Jersey native.
Tar Heel Momentum in Northern Virginia?
Last weekend, UVa target Jeremiah Clarke, from Alexandria, committed to North Carolina, seemingly out of nowhere. He had said previously that he wanted to extend his recruitment and take more visits, but he pulled the trigger suddenly Sunday night instead. Clarke is the second prospect from the "703" to commit to UNC, joining quarterback Caleb Henderson. Clarke's T.C. Williams teammate Malik Carney (who doesn't hold an offer from UVa or Virginia Tech at this point) lists the Heels among his final two, along with Tennessee. Virginia priority target M.J. Stewart eliminated the Hoos last week, and the Tar Heels are probably the favorite to land him at this point.
So, how is UNC suddenly so hot in Northern Virginia? For one, prospects from that area of the state seem more inclined to look at out-of-state options than players from other areas. Plenty of prospects from those areas have landed at places like Penn State, Stanford, West Virginia, etc. in recent years. But as for the Heels run of luck in the area, part of it has to do with the problems they encounter in their home state. The SEC schools and Clemson poach tons of talent from North Carolina every year, so the Heels often have to focus their efforts elsewhere to land prospects. North Carolina recruited Henderson harder than anyone else did probably, and have gone after Steward and Carney really hard. The Clarke decision is a bit of a mystery as far as the timing, but I wouldn't read too much into UNC coming in and "taking over" the Commonwealth. The UNC staff has plenty of relationships to mend in the "757" area after the Jaason Lewis debacle, and they totally lost momentum with Andrew Brown, Jamil Kamara and Jalyn Holmes following that incident. If UNC comes back next year and lands a some prospects from the Northern Virginia area, then we can start to look at it as a trend rather than an aberration.