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Virginia football recruiting reset: Busy June sees ‘Hoos add 8 commits to 2024 class

Where UVA stands heading into the July dead period for football recruiting

North Carolina v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

That breeze you may feel around the McCue Center in Charlottesville would be the Virginia Cavaliers football coaches catching their breath.

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, the Hoos’ class of 2024 stood at three commits: Lake Braddock offensive lineman Benjamin York, Episcopal tight end John Rogers, and Thomas Dale defensive back Ethan Minter.

With the Independence Day holiday now peeking round the corner, that three has exploded up to 11.

The commitments came mostly in two big waves, the first at the beginning of the month and another toward the end. STL broke down three of those early-June commits already. Here’s what UVA is getting from the other five prospects to have announced their commitments this month.

Jaylin Lackey - defensive back (Snellville, GA)

Lackey is the highest rated commit presently in UVA’s 2024 class as rated on the 247 Sports Composite, with an even 88 by his name. At 6-feet tall and 185 pounds, the South Gwinnett standout has Power Five offers from Georgia Tech, Pitt, Kentucky, and Minnesota, along with G5 and FCS powers like Cincinnati, Tulane, and North Dakota State. He was part of the big visit weekend in early June that landed the Hoos’ first three commits this month.

Cedric Franklin - defensive back (Marietta, GA)

Unlike the other commits here, Franklin committed as a standalone—his June 16th commitment wasn’t joined by others in the immediately adjacent days. Franklin holds an 84.17 247 Composite, as well as offers from Boston College, Indiana, West Virginia, BYU, and Missouri. The Hoos closed Franklin quickly, with defensive backs coach Curome Cox extending an offer just a month before Franklin committed.

Triston Ward - wide receiver (Deerfield, MA)

Breaking up the string of Peach State defensive backs, UVA landed a commitment from 6-foot-1, 190-pound receiver Triston Ward on June 23rd. The Deerfield Academy product has a shorter offer list than UVA’s other June commits, but it’s just about all ACC teams: Virginia won out over a late charge from Pitt, as well as offers from Boston College and Duke; UMass was also in the mix for Ward. Like Franklin, Ward’s 247 Composite stands at 84.17.

Kevon Gray - defensive back (Fairburn, GA)

Virginia didn’t have to wait too long for Georgia to produce another commitment on the defensive side of the ball, as Kevon Gray committed to UVA on June 24th. The 5-foot-11 corner from Creekside High School (just a bit southwest of Atlanta) holds a 247 Composite rating of 86.19, and offers from a number of Power Five programs, including Florida State, Louisville, Pitt, Missouri, Kentucky, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Indiana, and Colorado.

KeShawn Adams - defensive back (Avon, CT)

Closing things out for the Hoos in June (at least as of this writing) is KeShawn Adams, a 6-foot, 190-pound safety from Avon Old Farms in Connecticut. Adams was another of the early June visitors, but waited a bit longer to publicly commit to UVA. Other schools to have offered Adams include Syracuse, West Virginia, and Temple.

The eleven commits have Virginia’s 2024 class ranked 49th nationally by 247 Sports, and 12th in the ACC.

Some takeaways from this summer recruiting flurry:

  1. Having Chris Slade on staff is paying off: When Slade joined Tony Elliott’s staff in 2022, his deep roots coaching a successful program in talent-rich Georgia were the obvious upside. UVA has now landed four commits from the Peach State in the class of 2024. With a strong alumni base in the Atlanta area (which turns most games at Georgia Tech into a quasi-home game for the Hoos), having a UVA legend recruiting that territory should continue to be a priority for Virginia in years to come.
  2. Boy, that’s a lot of defensive backs: Those of us who remember the Mike London recruiting days may be getting some nervous sweat seeing a recruiting class with five DBs, two WRs, and only three linemen combined offensive and defensive. But don’t panic just yet. With defensive coordinator John Rudzinski running a five-DB system, UVA adding two corners and three safeties in the class means the coaches have essentially recruited one defensive backfield’s worth in the 2024 pool. And linemen are often late adds to a recruiting class: as difficult as it is to project success on the offensive line, another year of tape and evaluation can help suss out targets late in the recruiting cycle.
  3. Virginia is getting its foot in the door at some important programs: There’s been plenty of focus on Elliott redoubling UVA’s efforts to land in-state talent—and those efforts paid off early with the Hoos’ first three 2024 commits all hailing from the Commonwealth. But Ward and Adams represent important in-roads for UVA among academically elite football powers in the Northeast as well, the type of schools where Virginia should be able to find players who fit the University’s academic requirements while also rating among the region’s best football talents. Avon Old Farms, for example, has been a quarterback factory in recent years: Taisun Phommachanh was a four-star who committed to Clemson in the 2019 class, and Ryan Puglisi is a 2024 four-star committed to Georgia. UVA is currently pursuing 2025 prospect Cole Geer, Ward’s QB at Deerfield.
  4. UVA’s big visit weekends were a success—but not universally: Over the two weekends of June 2 and June 9, Virginia hosted 21 prospects, including one already-committed player each weekend (Rogers early, Minter late). Those 19 uncommitted visitors generated seven commitments for the Hoos. But a few also decided to go elsewhere. The biggest loss for UVA was probably offensive lineman Gemyel Allen, a Georgia offensive lineman who committed to Duke earlier this week. Another offensive line target, Marylander Kyle Altuner, canceled his scheduled visit to Grounds and committed to West Virginia.

The end of June marks the beginning of a “dead period” for FBS recruiting, meaning coaches can continue communicating with recruits but cannot make trips to see recruits in person or host visitors on Grounds. There will be one more “quiet period”—with on-campus visits permitted but no off-campus recruiting—at the end of July before the start of training camp. Twenty of the top 30 prospects in Virginia remain uncommitted heading into the July dead period.