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Virginia football recruiting news: Commitments on horizon as summer, camp season begin

Decisions made and decisions looming for UVA targets

NCAA Football: Military Bowl-Virginia vs Navy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

We had ourselves a little bit of a week last week, what with all the Ben Smiley hubbub. From commit to not in less than an episode of How I Met Your Mother, the Chesapeake four-star shook up a UVA recruiting landscape that had been pretty quiet.

June 1st brought with it the start of the NCAA’s quiet period for FBS recruiting, meaning schools can only have face-to-face contact with prospective players on the school’s campus. This usually plays out with the camp circuit: a way for under-recruited athletes to work out in front of coaches and for coaches to get face time with their top targets.

The Virginia Cavaliers hosted their first two camps of the summer on Friday, June 1—one general camp and one linemen camp, held simultaneously. Among the visitors for the first camp session was a group of European prospects through Premier Players International.

Some highlights among those visitors:

  • Martin Veinberg, a 6’9, 300-pound offensive tackle from Finland. Veinberg has picked up offers from Florida and Towson.
  • Sylvain Yondjouen, a 6’5, 230-pound defensive end/linebacker from Belgium with offers from Towson and Western Michigan.
  • Kariem Al-Soufi, a 6’4, 350-pound offensive lineman from Germany. Like Veinberg, Al-Soufi also picked up a Florida offer.
  • Demerrio Promes, a 6’3, 185-pound Dutch athlete who clocked a 4.41 40-yard dash.

This coaching staff had a knack at BYU for finding raw international talent and turning it into solid contributors, and even stars. Yondjouen looks like the most FBS-ready of the group that visited Charlottesville, but there could be one or two others with the stuff to contribute at a Power Five level.

Other quick hits from the past few days:

  • The aforementioned Ben Smiley was named to the USA Football U-19 National Team. Current UVA QB Lindell Stone and former tight end/defensive lineman John Kirven both played for the national team before enrolling at Virginia.
  • Three-star offensive tackle Blerim Rustemi from New Jersey committed to Boston College on Monday. Virginia had been one of his first Power Five offers and was gaining some traction, but the Eagles sewed things up quickly despite being late to the game. BC extended the scholarship offer on Sunday and got their man the next day.
  • Back in the Commonwealth, Flint Hill defensive back Trey Rucker was on Grounds for a visit in late May. Wake Forest, Temple, and Purdue have recently come calling for the three-star safety. Hopefully the visit will help UVA seal the deal and add another in-state commitment for 2019.
  • Committed safety Antonio Clary tweeted that he planned to enroll early at UVA in January. The tweet has been deleted, but early enrollment has been a favored approach the last several classes for both getting extra practice time in for freshmen and evening out class numbers for scholarship counting.

Finally, the big news of the week. Oscar Smith’s Cam’Ron Kelly has a commitment ceremony scheduled for Thursday at 10:30 AM. UVA got a late visit from Kelly after he visited Penn State, but Clemson has squeezed in the last word with a visit this past weekend.

Any recruit seeing the national championship trophy in Clemson’s football operations Death Star is going to be blown away, understandably. Expect Kelly to announce for Clemson on Thursday.

Simultaneously, keep in mind that National Signing Day—even the early one—is still six months away. The Hoos have hosted Kelly on Grounds a number of times over the past two seasons and are in better shape against a powerhouse like Clemson than any team with two bowl appearances in ten years ought to be. A strong 2018 season showing momentum for Mendenhall and the UVA program might still be able to have an effect on Kelly’s ultimate enrollment decision.