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Virginia football: Early signing day recap

Meeting the newest members of the UVA football family, including comments from Coach Mendenhall and Coach Elliott

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers signed 10 players during the early signing period for the class of 2022, a class that marks the end of the Bronco Mendenhall era and the beginning of Tony Elliott’s in Charlottesville.

Here are the players who signed, and what the two coaches had to say about the incoming class.

Early Enrollees

Two high school players and one Power Five transfer will join the Hoos in January:

  • Davis Lane - QB, Liberty Christian (Lynchburg, VA): A dual-threat on the gridiron and a multisport standout for the Bulldogs, Lane committed to UVA back in June. Other FBS offers include Army, Navy, ODU, and Utah State, with offers from the Ivy League as well.
  • Stevie Bracey - LB, Lovett School (Atlanta, GA): Bracey was a high school teammate of current Virginia standout Nick Jackson. A May commit to UVA, Bracey’s other Power Five offers include Indiana, Syracuse, and Minnesota.
  • Devin Chandler - WR, Wisconsin (and Hough High School in Huntersville, NC): Chandler played two seasons for the Badgers, seeing most of his game action as a return man. He adds experience and depth to a wide receiver corps that was among the nation’s best in 2021.

Regular Enrollees

The rest of the Hoos’ class includes one of the nation’s top kickers, a state Gatorade Player of the Year winner, two big-body wide receivers, a track star, and a pair of Tennessee products who playmakers off the edge on each side of the ball.

  • Dakota Twitty - WR, Thomas Jefferson Classical (Columbus, NC): The star of the recruiting class, according to all three major rating services. A four-star by 247 and ESPN, Twitty stands 6-foot-5 and 213 pounds. UVA beat out Georgia, Georgia Tech, UNC, Louisville, Ole Miss, and plenty of others for Twitty’s commitment.
  • Will Bettridge - K, Gulliver Prep (Miami, FL): Another UVA recruit from Gulliver, coached by former Cavalier linebacker Earl Sims. Bettridge is ranked in the top 10 nationally by every service that rates kickers; Kornblue Kicking ranks him #1 overall. He was the heart and soul of the recruiting class and Tony Elliott made a late save to keep him in the fold.
  • Xavier Brown - RB, Lexington Christian (Lexington, KY): Named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Kentucky, Brown committed to UVA in July after a June visit. Wisconsin, Maryland, and Boston College all offered Brown as well.
  • Delaney Crawford - QB/ATH, Corona Senior (Corona, CA): Crawford was one of the last additions to UVA’s 2022 class, committing to the Hoos on November 29—just days before Mendenhall’s surprise announcement. He is also one of the top track athletes in California, starring especially in hurdles. Look for him to move out of the quarterback room for Virginia.
  • Karson Gay - TE, Boyd-Buchanan School (Chattanooga, TN): May be the heir-apparent to Jelani Woods as a pass-catcher over the middle. Lots of Power Five offers, including Tennessee, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Southern Cal, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and Pitt.
  • Trey McDonald - EDGE, Baylor School (Chattanooga, TN): The flip side of Delaney Crawford, as McDonald committed to Virginia in March 2021 and stuck with the Hoos throughout. Listed as an outside linebacker, he could also play defensive end with some added weight and strength. Offer list mostly Ivies and service academies.
  • Sean Wilson - WR, Canarsie (Brooklyn, NY): Just about a clone of Dak Twitty, giving Virginia a total of three big targets (along with Gay) in the passing game. Arizona State, Oregon, Miami, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech all offered Wilson as well.

Both Elliott and Mendenhall spoke about the incoming class on Signing Day: Mendenhall with more of a player-by-player analysis, after recruiting each of them for months; and Elliott with more of a view to the class’s role in his transition into the head role.