Most guys listed as “athletes” by a recruiting service are little fellas: a quarterback/defensive back, maybe a running back/slot wide receiver—occasionally a linebacker, like previous UVA commit West Weeks.
But the newest commit to the Virginia Cavaliers football team breaks the athlete mold. Because Hugh Laughlin is 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds.
Rated three stars by 247 and Rivals (247 Composite of 85.27), Laughlin plays tight end, offensive tackle, and defensive line. He’ll play on the defensive side of the ball for UVA, where his length and athleticism will make him a good fit at defensive end or an interior rusher on passing downs.
Laughlin’s offer list includes Florida State, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Louisville, Ole Miss, Syracuse, and Arizona State.
Most of these highlights are on offense, but the athleticism and strength are apparent regardless. Laughlin reports a 40-yard dash time of 4.8; even if that is a number in the low 5s, it’s still impressive for a high schooler his size. Coach Sintim will need to get him coached up on technique to be a full-time defensive lineman, a process that will likely require a redshirt season. But Laughlin could be an immediate value add on field goal defense, if the special teams experience is worth burning the year of eligibility.
Laughlin’s commitment moves the Hoos’ 2021 class back into the top 20 according to the 247 Composite ratings.