When we last checked in with UVA recruiting, ACC play was just getting started for the football team. Hope abounded, optimism sat on every corner, and bunnies lay on beds of daffodils granting wishes for bubble-gum mansions. Or something.
Now? At least it’s basketball season.
The Hoos added a few big names, but lost some earlier commits as well. With signing day just two months away, the Virginia football coaches will turn their attention to wrapping up the class over the winter and focusing on just a handful of very prized prospects.
Zane Zandier, OLB - Zandier was a name in high demand the past few months. The 6’3, 205 pound playmaker held offers from West Virginia (which was long considered the front-runner for his commitment) and Michigan State, with Penn State making a late push as well. But UVA won out, and landed itself a good one.
Proud to say I will be attending & playing football at the University of Virginia next year.. God is good!⚔️ pic.twitter.com/B4k62yExbe— Zane (@zzandier23) November 13, 2016
Jamari Peacock, RB - “Wait,” you say. “Didn’t Peacock already commit? I don’t forget a name like ‘Jamari Peacock.’” Good memory! Peacock had reportedly decided on Virginia back over the summer, but backed off of making an official public commitment. But he unveiled his college choice on Twitter just a few weeks ago.
What we said about Peacock back in June remains true:
The list of schools UVA has reportedly beat out for Peacock’s commitment is the best evidence of why Hoos should be excited about the new addition: Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, and Stanford had all extended offers.
Now just take out “reportedly.” Peacock will join the line of “big backs,” headed up this year by senior Albert Reid.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, OLB/S - We welcomed Owusu-Koramoah to the program just before Halloween. His commitment video remains one of the best parts of the football season to date.
The late fall recruiting was not without its stumbles. In late June, six prospects committed to Virginia in the span of one week. Four of those six have now decommitted from UVA.
First was offensive lineman Harry Crider, who flipped to Indiana in August.
Then Clayton Cheatham, who had been recruited as a walk-on quarterback at UVA, accepted a scholarship offer from JMU.
Bryson Speas, an offensive lineman from North Carolina, was the next to go, committing to NC State on October 9.
The most recent domino to fall was Ryan Thaxton, an athletic defensive end out of the St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School in Alexandria.
Thank you everyone for respecting my decision pic.twitter.com/uaAEFlKPK8— Big Ryan (@45_TheFuture) November 21, 2016
Thaxton could still well end up a Cavalier, but he wants to take some visits and better assess his opportunities.
With all the turnover the past few months, the recruiting class for 2017 stands at 21, including three early signees and post-grad commit Darrius Bratton. There are only three offensive linemen currently committed, and that will be the most likely area of focus for the coaches between now and February 1.
Yea, we’re talking basketball crootin’ today too (albeit briefly).
The lone member of the 2017 class, Marco Anthony, signed his national letter of intent on November 9, during the early signing period. In his first official comments on Anthony, Coach Bennett called him “a strong, physical and versatile guard.” There may be room for one more commit in the 2017 class, especially with the dismissal of Austin Nichols, but the coaches may hold the spot open for another 2018 player.
One possible 2018 prospect is Immanuel Quickley, who named Virginia as one of his final 8 schools.
Quickley would be a HUGE get for UVA. He’s the #11 overall prospect in the class of 2018 by ESPN, #12 overall by Rivals, and #17 overall by 247. Scouting reports rave about his instincts and intelligence, and say his two biggest areas of improvement need to be his shooting and his strength development—two of the hallmarks of UVA basketball under Coach Bennett and Mike Curtis.