Does Virginia Football's Instability Put Recruit Tim Harris Back in Play?

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IDecember 5, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Head coach Mike London of the Virginia Cavaliers against the Auburn Tigers during the 2011 Chick Fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Sunday, Virginia announced that defensive coordinator Jim Reid and defensive line coach Jeff Hanson were being shown the door in part of a massive housecleaning effort from third-year coach Mike London.

While Reid's tenure was far from spectacular, his firing in concert with the other dismissals and a 4-8 record makes many wonder just how secure the 2013 recruiting class is for the Virginia Cavaliers.

As frustrated as Cavaliers fans have been with the disappointing 2012 season, no one can complain about the recruiting prowess of London and company.

Virginia's class of 2011 was ranked 20th in the country by ESPN and 27th in 2012. This current class ranks 29th, but that number is now in jeopardy with all the uncertainty raised by the recent firings.

One big name everyone is paying attention to is All-Star safety Tim Harris from Varina High School in Richmond, Virginia.

Harris committed to Virginia on August 14th of this year despite offers from Michigan, California, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

With Reid's firing, Coach London and his staff went to Richmond on Monday to talk to their 4-star recruit and try to gauge the status of his decision. Since then, the media has tried their best to reach the star as well, and the rumor mill is churning.

A Michigan Wolverine blog Touch The Banner claimed that Harris decommitted this past Sunday, but no official word has been released. In fact, most other news outlets do not seem to support that at all.

However, just because Harris has not rescinded his commitment, it doesn't mean that he is still as convinced as he once was.

Jamie Oakes of has been constantly tracking the situation and informed the Daily Progress that Harris still would pick Virginia but will not be definitive until the new coordinator is announced.

Even after Coach London visited the young man, it appears that while Virginia has the best chance, it is no longer the only school in the running.

Perhaps the most likely defector will be cornerback Malcolm Cook. As the Daily Progress reported in that same article, his teammate is heading to Penn State next season, and Cook has already been contacted by the Nittany Lions once word of the firings hit.

Reid's connections to the Richmond area were a major complement to the talent London had at attracting recruits from the Virginia Beach/Newport News region.

How successful will Virginia be at retaining these recruits? That obviously depends on who replaces Reid and company.

Will London take over defensive duties?

Will someone like Jon Tenuta take over?

Could Virginia fool everybody with a major name like former Miami coach Randy Shannon or Carolina coach Butch Davis?

If recruits do fall from Virginia's hands, which teams will be around to pick up the pieces?

Virginia Tech would seem the obvious benefactor. After a shocking 6-6 campaign, the Hokies would love a recruiting steal or two to bring order back to the ACC universe.

The Hokies will likely see some assistant turnover as well due to their underwhelming season.

How will the Commonwealth recruiting race conclude?

With signing day in the distance, the race is far from over.


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