Welcome to another edition of Recruiting Roundup! Today, we will take a closer look at the class of 2016 following the departure of head coach Mike London, and some key dates to keep an eye on going forward.
Other than who his successor will be, one of the biggest questions following London's dismissal was the status of the 27 commits for the class of 2016. Luckily for the Virginia program, like the current Hoos on the roster, many of the recruits have been pretty levelheaded about the change at the top.
Of the 27 verbal pledges, 22 of them jumped on board before the season began, and have had plenty of time to grow enamored with the school.
Five commits, Tre Harbison (RB) , Kenneth Ruff (LB), Holland Corbett (PK), Matt Terrell (LB), and Christian Baumgardner (TE) have been cleared to enroll at the University in January. The quintet of early enrollees signed their grant-in aid paper work with UVa earlier this fall, giving the Virginia staff unlimited contact with the aforementioned recruits. The paper work binds the school to the kids, but does NOT bind the kids to the school, meaning that any of the early enrollees can potentially look elsewhere.
We expect the five commits to stay put and enroll in January, but keep an eye on Harbison. The three-star running back built quite a connection with London, and several suitors have been trying to court the Florida native this fall.
The five commits will graduate high school later this month, and will enroll in college somewhere in January, so if anyone is going to change his mind, it is going to have to happen soon.
Though many of them knew it was coming, it is still difficult for those in the class of 2016 to shake off the initial disappointment/feelings about the coach that they committed to no longer being there.
While nobody has decommitted and the bulk of the class is playing the waiting game to see who UVa hires, a few of the commits have said in one way or another that they are still solid with UVa.
Offensive tackle Stephen Spanellis told Adam Friedman of Rivals.com that he is still 100 percent committed to Virginia. Spanellis maintains that while he liked London a great deal, he is committed to the school, regardless of who the coach was/is. The three-star tackle is ranked as one of the top 40 OTs in the country for the class of 2016.
Per the Richmond Times, the coaching staff at Atlee claims that they expect wide receiver Cole Blackman to stick with UVa.
Randolph Henry WR/DB Joseph Reed committed to the Wahoos back in the summer of 2014, largely due to his relationship with the former UVa head coach. Though Reed was saddened by London's departure, the three-star athlete has gone on record saying that he is still committed to UVa.
Keep in mind, just because a commit has not gone public yet, it does not mean that they are not still committed. There are lots of factors at play here. In the end, if Virginia makes a solid hire, we expect the vast majority of the class to stay put.
While London has always been a great recruiter, much of Virginia's success in the class of 2016 has been due to running backs coach Chris Beatty. After helping UVa secure a few last minute commits in 2015, Beatty did a tremendous job attracting 2016 kids to Charlottesville. Beatty is responsible for at least nine of Virginia's current pledges, including Harbison. If he is not retained by the new head coach, the Wahoos could face the possibility of several decommitments.
Florida wide receiver Neru N'Shaka is one of Beatty's recruits, and is considered somewhat of a flight risk at this point. Shortly after the London announcement was made, N'Shaka tweeted the following...
Decisions Decisions Decision— Neru (@Livekidd8) November 29, 2015
N'Shaka's recruitment has taken several turns this fall. The speedy wideout missed most of his senior season with an injury, which caused many schools to turn their attention away from the Florida native. N'Shaka reportedly has an official visit to Toledo scheduled for next month, but the Rockets are also looking for a new head coach, after Matt Campbell bolted for Iowa State this past Monday.
More on this as it develops.
Date to Keep in Mind:
The NCAA mandated recruiting "dead period" will begin on December 15, and run all the way through January 14. During that time, no in-person contact is permitted between recruits and college coaches. The two parties can still communicate electronically, but no visits can take place during the dead period. If any of UVa's commits are to take visits before January, the trips will need to take place in the next 13 days.
On the weekend of January 23-25th, the new Virginia head coach will welcome the entire class of 2016 (minus the early enrollees) to grounds for everyone's official visit. The big weekend will give the incoming recruits a chance to get to know the new head coach, and give the coaches a chance to get everyone on board before Signing Day in February.
That will do it for this edition of Recruiting Roundup. See ya!