According to Sam Blum of the Daily Progress, Virginia Cavaliers football coach Bronco Mendenhall made an unscheduled appearance before the University’s Board of Visitors this weekend and delivered a series of “State of the Program”-style remarks.
One of the topics Mendenhall addressed was roster composition and how UVA’s talent level stacks up against ACC competition.
Blum quotes Mendenhall as saying that only 27 players on the current roster are “ACC-caliber.” Blum’s story then points out that the current roster has 81 players, “meaning Mendenhall feels that two-thirds of the players on the roster, as presently constructed, are not ACC-caliber.”
The current 81-man roster does not account for the outgoing senior class that included two NFL Draft picks and another first-team All-ACC performer. It also does not include any of the three incoming transfers with Big Ten backgrounds, nor does it include 17 members of the incoming freshman class—10 of whom have a 247 Sports Composite rating of 84 or higher.
Once those players are accounted for, Mendenhall believes the number of ACC-caliber players will be in the mid-40s.
Blum also shared several other quotes from Mendenhall in a series of articles published in close succession Sunday night. Among those:
- Mendenhall would like players to have aspirations beyond the NFL, and wants to help his players prepare for life after football.
- He would like to schedule more winnable games for the Cavaliers instead of traveling cross-country to play Top-25 teams.
- The program he inherited in 2016 was undergoing a crisis of confidence, but Mendenhall has seen an improvement in players’ mindsets over the past three years.
Also noteworthy in the context of recent recruiting news, Mendenhall addressed UVA’s standing with top in-state talent:
“The narrative for the in-state player, which are the hardest to get currently, when they choose Penn State, they are praised for it. When they choose Clemson, they are praised for it. If they choose Ohio State, that’s celebrated,” Mendenhall said. “When they say they’re coming to Virginia — these are the best players — the first question is, ‘How come? They don’t value football.’ That is the perception. And that is the recent history”
Mendenhall noted that the perception is slightly more positive for out-of-state recruits, who are often told about the high-caliber academic reputation of the university.
The current commitments in Virginia’s 2019 class include two in-state players, plus three from Florida, one from Tennessee, and one from Utah.
Despite those concerns and challenges, Mendenhall said he thought it was likely that the team would qualify for postseason play for a second consecutive year.