Tony Elliott’s first recruiting class as head coach for the Virginia Cavaliers has not been entirely overwhelming. The Hoos currently sit at 53rd overall (13th in the ACC) with just 13 commitments, all three-star prospects (247 Composite).
While recruiting is a critical aspect of success in college football, a staple of Bronco Mendenhall’s coaching tenure was finding hidden, underrated talent. With UVA football’s current limitations in infrastructure, any coaching staff must be especially skilled in this regard.
The beginning of Elliott’s 2023 class proves to be no exception. Here are three Virginia pledges that could exceed their recruiting ranking with future on-field play:
DL Rodney Lora
Lora is currently the second highest rated UVA commit, with a composite rating of 0.8652. He is the 93rd ranked defensive lineman in the class, and comes from the commonwealth of Virginia.
In high school, Lora has been mostly utilized at the edge spot. He has dominated as a speed rusher and has shown an impressive ability to track down ball carriers in the backfield. The staff may decide to convert him into a tackle as well where he already has overwhelming strength at 6’4, 270.
New defensive coordinator John Rudzinski’s defense requires a particularly quick and athletic defensive line and Lora fits that mold.
IOL Cole Surber
Surber had one of the more impressive lists of offers among UVA commits, including multiple SEC schools and several others in the power five. The Nokesville, VA native is another lineman that Elliott has been able to keep in his home state, a point of emphasis for him.
Surber is relatively new to the sport of football, which may have left the recruiting sites skeptical, but the size and talent is undeniable. He is currently at 6’6, 280 pounds with plenty more room to fill out. Surber will likely be molded into a guard at UVA, who can pull when necessary and block effectively in space at the second level. His quick, lateral movement is what stands out the most on film.
CB Jarvis Lee
Elliott went down to Florida to grab another player with a relatively large list of offers. Lee is ranked as the 82nd cornerback in the class, which is good for a composite rating of 0.8631.
Lee’s film showcases him playing various roles all over the field. He is mostly utilized as an outside corner in tight, man coverage but can also be seen in a safety/slot corner role as well as a returner.
Lee is able to stick with practically any receiver step for step, allowing little to no separation. He understands leverage and has especially good ball skills. Anticipate an even greater breakout season in Lee’s senior season.