On Sunday night, UVA added another commitment to its 2020 class in tight end Joshua Rawlings.
Rawlings is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect out of Pittsburgh. He chose Virginia over offers from Minnesota, Iowa State, and Pitt (all three of which Rawlings visited in addition to UVA), plus Power Five suitors Indiana, Maryland, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia. 247 pegs him with an 85 rating, good enough for the 35th best tight end nationally and the 12th best overall prospect in Pennsylvania. Rivals is generally in alignment on Rawlings: three-star rating, 13th overall in PA.
Rawlings is serious about his academics as well. The pinned tweet on his Twitter profile is a grade report from the end of his freshman year, showing straight A’s. Which would explain why Yale extended an offer to him as well.
You can see versatility in Rawlings’ film that made him an attractive target—both for his high school quarterback and to Robert Anae, Rawlings’ recruiting lead at Virginia. He gets used as an in-line block-and-release receiver, split all the way out wide as a jump-ball target, as a pulling lead blocker on run plays—you name it, Rawlings does it. His athleticism isn’t eye-popping, but he has a stronger technical base than many tight end prospects who are recruited for a size-speed combo and projected upside. Another 15-20 pounds of good weight should make Rawlings a prototypical tight end for Virginia’s offense.
Rawlings adds a possible early contributor at a position of need for the Hoos. Of the players on the 2019 roster, only Tanner Cowley has played college tight end before. Grant Misch is switching from linebacker and Christian Baumgardner is back with the team after a season out of football (and also transitioning from playing defense in 2017). The rest of the listed tight ends—sophomore T.J. Kitts and freshmen Landry Gerbers and Mike Kosar—are all walk-ons (and Gerbers was a high school quarterback).
Evan Butts hauled in only 16 of UVA’s 228 receptions in 2018, but a reliable check-down option can be invaluable for a running threat like Bryce Perkins: whichever choice a linebacker makes—cover the tight end or come up on the runner—the quarterback can make them be wrong.
The commitment from Rawlings puts the 2020 class at nine. I would expect that to mean the class is about halfway full.