The Virginia football program does so much recruiting in Florida, you’d think that the McCue Center had moved to Mar-A-Lago.
The Wahoos struck twice on the recruiting trail this weekend, with both players coming from the Sunshine State. Virginia nabbed commitments from wide receiver Tavares Kelly (St. Thomas Aquinas, Ft. Lauderdale) and outside linebacker Case Gatlin (IMG Academy, Bradenton). Kelly and Gatlin join quarterback Wyatt Rector (Leesburg) as Florida commits for UVA in the 2018 recruiting cycle.
Kelly is a 5’8” 160 pound speedster. He’s ranked 3-stars by Rivals and 247Sports and is listed as the 85th best wide receiver in the country. He chose Virginia on Friday over offers from Rutgers, Marshall, and Miami of Ohio. Kelly’s junior season highlights showcase his skills as a slot receiver and punt returner.
Gatlin is a 6’4” 205 outside linebacker who played football in Texas before transferring to IMG Academy. He’s currently unranked by both Rivals and 247Sports. He’s the third linebacker commit for the 2018 cycle, along with Noah Taylor and Javar Garrett. Gatlin’s highlights show him doing a nice job of jamming receivers at the line, dropping back in coverage, and making downhill tackles.
Bronco Mendenhall’s staff has recruited in Florida quite a bit since taking over. In addition to 3 early commitments for 2018, Virginia signed three Floridians in the 2017 class and added another late in the 2016 cycle. By comparison, Mendenhall’s staff has only signed 8 total players from Virginia.
Jamari Peacock, the big Florida back who signed with UVA in 2017, figures to play a prominent role as a true freshman in the fall. Other Floridians on the roster include linebackers Eric Gallon and Dominic Sheppard, defensive end Naji Abdullah, and quarterback Kurt Benkert.
Stay tuned to Streaking the Lawn for more recruiting news as the 2018 recruiting cycle continues.