When the Virginia Cavaliers take the field this Saturday against Duke, they will be coming off one of the more interesting weeks their recruiting has seen in recent history.
This past week, the 2018 class was trimmed down from 20 commitments to 18 as the Cavaliers cut ties with defensive tackle Bryce Ramer and linebacker Case Gatlin. This can be interpreted a few different ways.
- Coming off a big win at Boise State, the coaching staff truly believes they are in position to land a couple more solid recruits in the 2018 class. More on this later.
- The two guys previously mentioned didn’t fit the coaching staff’s “new standard”.
Both of these views ultimately point towards a positive result. Coming almost immediately on the heels of a potentially program changing win, two of the five lowest rated incoming commits re-opened their recruitment, both more than likely suggested by the coaching staff.
This leads to the next question: Who are these spots being opened for?
On Monday, offensive tackle Jacob Isaia (Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, NV) committed to Michigan State, so he’s out of the picture. This comes as disappointing news as it was believed that Isaia had a good relationship with the UVA coaches when they were previously at BYU. With Isaia off the board, this leaves a few interesting names to ponder.
1. Caleb Kelly – three-star outside linebacker from Atlanta, Georgia.
2. Jordan Redmond – three-star defensive tackle from Kissimmee, Florida.
3. Chris Mills – three-star corner back from Converse, Texas.
4. Tola Banjoko – three-star defensive tackle from Alexandria, Virginia
5. Darren Brown – three-star defensive tackle from Converse, Texas.
Of these five prospects, Kelly and Redmond are certainly the best bets, primarily because they play the positions of the two guys who were released from their commitment.
Kelly’s recruitment has been relatively quiet in the past few months but it appears that he’s going to decide between Virginia, Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
Redmond’s interest in the Cavaliers had been relatively unknown since he announced his top ten schools in late July, until he announced last night that he will be taking his official visit to Charlottesville on October 20th, the weekend of the Boston College game.
In addition to those two likely gets, the Cavaliers will be hosting teammates Chris Mills and Darren Brown this weekend for the Duke game.
Mills is super physical at only six feet tall and fits the Cavaliers’ defensive scheme similarly to current corner backs Brenton Nelson and Bryce Hall.
Brown is a relatively unknown quantity, but from watching film on him, I would describe him as a high effort guy with good run stopping instincts. Brown plays defensive end at his high school due to their 3-4 scheme but would almost certainly transition to an inside run stopper for Vic So’oto.
There’s no word on when any of these commitments will be announced but these next two to three weeks is a popular time for late commits to make their decision. As the 2018 class comes to a close, we’ll keep you updated on which guys choose to come to Charlottesville to be a part of a program on the rise.