What is Virginia Doing to Suddenly Reel in the Nation's Best Recruits?
By getting a commitment from highly touted defensive tackle prospect Andrew Brown, Virginia recently made waves on the national landscape.
But for those paying attention to the happenings in Charlottesville, it is clear that head coach Mike London and his staff are not doing anything different.
Well, at least nothing different from what London has been working toward since he got the job . London, who did two separate stints as a Cavaliers assistant under Al Groh, became the head coach at Virginia after his performance at the helm of the Richmond Spiders.
Fixing recruiting was high on his list of things to do.
Coming in, London understood the landscape, having spent time as the recruiting coordinator in Charlottesville. He also recruited the same area while coaching the Spiders.
He came in knowing that the cross-state rivals at Virginia Tech had long claimed the bulk of the athletes from Virginia's talented Tidewater region.
His goal was to make the Wahoos a major player in their own state, and his efforts are starting to pay offl. In each of his first four recruiting classes, he has worked to grow the program's sphere of influence.
Over the course of his tenure, including a bowl berth in 2011, the message has remained constant: If you're from the area, stay home and play for us. Help turn this program around.
And that message is clearly starting to work on the recruiting trail.
London is beating out the Hokies for solid players. He is keeping some of the national poachers from grabbing all of the state's best talent. He is also stopping Maryland and North Carolina from cherry-picking so many of the kids that used to make the short drive north or south, respectively.
London has taken the time to rebuild Virginia's damaged relationships with high schools around the state. It has been a work in progress, and thanks to the recent commitment of Brown, one of the country's top defensive tackle prospects, the nation is paying attention.
Brown's not the only big-time prospect to commit to the Wahoos.
There is Quin Blanding, a 5-star defensive back in the 2014 cycle who is also on board. In the 2013 class, the Cavaliers signed seven 4-star talents. 2012 saw the Hoos get six 4-star players to go with their one 5-star, Eli Harold. Even London's first season saw him make a late push and land eight 4-star prospects.
London and his staff have been pushing to get talent to Charlottesville. People watching the situation, Cavaliers fans and rivals alike, have seen this happen since he got the job.
Now, the nation is taking notice.
There is no question that London has improved the recruiting. The question now is, when will the results reflect that improvement? Signing talent is nice, but the ultimate goal in Charlottesville is to get back on the winning side of things.
Going into his fourth year as the head coach, London has "his guys" on the roster. It is time to turn talent into wins.
After all, potential without results gets coaches fired.
All recruit rankings courtesy of 247Sports.com.
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