Virginia’s recruiting class ranked higher than rival Hokies by all services

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Virginia Tech’s Gobbler mascot may have survived Thanksgiving, but was confronted Friday by UVA’s CavMan brandishing a plastic knife and fork (Photo by John Markon).

Bronco Mendenhall said more doors are opening for Virginia recruiters now that the Cavaliers have won the ACC Coastal Division and will be playing in the Orange Bowl at the end of the month.

“Progress is being made,” Mendenhall said. “Credibility has taken a huge jump. Every bit as impactful of that has been the way it’s happened in this methodical, sequential, incremental way.”

The Cavaliers got several monkeys off their back this season while ending a 15-year losing streak to state rival Virginia Tech, winning nine games, winning the ACC Coastal Division title, playing in the ACC Championship game and moving on to the Orange Bowl.

UVA’s recruiting ranking, between No. 49 and 54 nationally by the various services that monitor signings, isn’t quite what Mendenhall would like, but fans must remember that a portion of that ranking isn’t as high because of the small class of only 14 signees. The coach and his staff are more than satisfied with what they landed, essentially players that fit the needs of the program.

The Cavaliers’ class was ranked No. 49 in the country by ESPN, No. 50 by 247/Sports, No. 50 by Scout, and No. 54 by Rivals. Virginia signed three 4-stars and 11 3-stars. (Remember that this year’s ACC Player of the Year, Clemson running back Travis Etienne, was a 3-star coming out of high school).

If nothing else, Wahoo fans can take solace in that UVA’s class was ranked higher than Virginia Tech’s by all of the recruiting services: 247/Sports No. 64; Scout No. 62; Rivals No. 77. ESPN did not have Tech ranked in its top 50.

Mendenhall is celebrating the success that Virginia had and said that he’s satisfied, at peace with UVA’s effort, having lost one 4-star defensive player late in the process to TCU. He also indicated he’d like to add at least one more quality wide receiver.

His eyes have already turned to the future.

“The consensus and the perspective is simply this is happening, will continue to happen and it will remain stable and consistent,” Mendenhall said. “That’s because of how and the methodical way it has been accomplished. The combination of some of the metrics met this year as well as the way, has formed another narrative that’s opening more doors.”

The coach said that the amount of interest for the 2021 recruiting class is eye-opening.

“The level of player by the world standards, that’s at a much different level now,” he said. “We haven’t seen it yet at this level in our time together at UVA. It’s tangible, palpable and at this stage, it’s real. Finishing this class and leveraging that is the next step. It’s certainly different right now.

“There is a lot of optimism and excitement around our personnel department and the coaches because of that. It’s clearly different than year one, two, three, than we’ve had so far.”

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