Mike London's Greatest Victory: The Recruiting Field?
The 2010 football season for the Cavaliers was rough.
A four-win season for coach Mike London was nothing compared to his first year at Richmond, where he took the Spiders to an FCS title.
London knew the road was going to be long and with an unproven quarterback, defensive issues and a third straight year without a bowl game. Things will not be much easier in 2011.
Still, despite the struggles, Virginia may have accomplished its biggest football feat of 2010 just a few days ago.
Demetrious Nicholson, a cornerback out of the Tidewater region, a nationally ranked recruit and the top prospect in the Commonwealth of Virginia by several recruiting agencies, announced that he is coming to Virginia.
Nicholson was heavily courted by North Carolina, but Virginia came out on top and the Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year became a great Christmas present for all Cavalier fans.
Nevertheless, Virginia's biggest successes go beyond Nicholson. The Cavaliers know that their future prosperity will hinge upon its ability to bring talent into a program that has been devoid of it for some time.
Coach London made a concentrated effort in the "757", the Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach area, which hosts a plethora of talent. So far that work has paid great dividends.
Grade Mike London's recruiting class so far:
13 of the top 25 recruits in the state are currently committed to coming to Virginia.
Two of the top names, quarterback David Watford and linebacker Da'Quan Romero have enrolled early to the University of Virginia.
Typically, programs with new coaches make the most of these early recruiting classes. Players sense a chance at playing time and some really relish the opportunity to turn a program around.
Plus, London's passionate personality is certainly a recruiting advantage when making a pitch to young blue chippers.
Regardless, to have made as many in-roads into the Virginia Tech dominance as quickly as he has, coach London must be ecstatic with the early returns.
Whether he can continue this success depends largely on his ability to be successful on the gridiron. Selling a vision will become difficult, if the Cavaliers cannot make strides towards it.
Still, everyone has to give the Cavaliers some respect. Hokie fans knew that former Virginia coach Al Groh was one of their greatest assets. His alienation of several key recruiting pipelines really set new the program back. His inability to produce with early top notch recruiting classes cost him dearly.
Now London has done what Virginia Tech feared, made the recruiting trail competitive again.
Will they translate into a competitive football team again? Time will tell.
One thing is for certain though. A season full of disappointment and frustration finally received a few rays of hope entering the Christmas season.
Merry Christmas Virginia!
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