Wahoos return to Peach State to pick up highly offered D-Lineman Laughlin

By Jerry Ratcliffe

UVA’s latest Class of 2021 football commitment, Hugh Laughlin (Photo: The Oconee Enterprise).

The way Hugh Laughlin viewed things, there was no reason to continue his recruiting after he completed a Zoom interview with Virginia head football coach Bronco Mendenhall on Thursday.

Laughlin, who was recruited by new UVA assistant coach Clint Sintim, announced on his Twitter account that he had become the Cavaliers’ 12th commitment to the Class of 2021. He joined West Weeks, another Georgia recruit, who committed to Virginia last week.

The Wahoos’ coaching staff continued on a roll with the pickup of Laughlin, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound, 3-star athlete from Athens Academy in Athens, Ga. Laughlin had more than 30 offers from FBS programs.

He picked Virginia over offers from Florida State, Tennessee, Central Florida, Louisville, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Syracuse, Air Force, Army, South Florida and others.

Laughlin is ranked the No. 67 offensive tackle in the country for the Class of 2021 by Rivals, and No. 90 by 247Sports.

However, Virginia offered Laughlin as a defensive lineman, where he has played for the past four seasons. At Athens Academy, he has played tight end but is transitioning to an offensive tackle.

Laughlin’s commitment came immediately following his meeting with Mendenhall on the Zoom video conference.

“We just talked and it just sort of hit me all at once,” Laughlin told Jeremy Johnson of the Oconee Enterprise. “I knew this was the place that I wanted to be.”

He and Weeks share a trainer and had talked about the possibility of playing for Virginia, but Weeks didn’t know Laughlin was planning on committing so quickly.

“We didn’t really have it planned out, but [Laughlin] talked to me about it and he liked [Virginia] a lot, so I knew I was going to go up there, but we didn’t have it planned out,” Weeks told Johnson. “He’s going to be a huge help up there. We work out with one of the same guys and I’ve been able to see him work a little bit. He’s a really big dude that can move well, so we’re definitely building a stronger relationship.”

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Several of Virginia’s commitments, including 4-star pass rusher Josh McCarron of Everett, Wash., are already talking to other prospects in an attempt to lure them to Virginia as well.

Laughlin is no different.

“I’m definitely going to talk to Deion (Colzie) some because we’d love to have him come and play with us,” Laughlin said.

Colzie is one of Laughlin’s teammates in Athens, and recently decommitted from Notre Dame.

Meanwhile, Laughlin talked about his future at Virginia.

“There were a decent amount (of schools) that wanted me as an athlete and there were a few that wanted me as a defensive lineman,” he said. “Virginia was one of the ones (that wanted him on defense). I feel like defense comes more naturally to me.

“Virginia wants to bring me in as a defensive lineman, but they’ll play me where ever to get me on the field. Whether that’s the offensive line or whatever, then that’s where I’ll play. I know I’ll have to work for it, but I hope I will be able to make it on the field early.”

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