Signing day: The Mendenhall era begins in Virginia


Signing day: The Mendenhall era begins in Virginia

The Bronco Mendenhall era has officially begun with his first signing day. Here are the players who have sent there letters in on Wednesday (rankings and height/weight info via Rivals):

QB - Sonny Abramson, 3-star (6'2", 217 pounds), Sparta, N.J.

Abramson was a four-year starter at quarterback for Pope John XXIII. He was a MaxPreps Freshman All-American in 2012 after throwing for 2,137 yards and 20 touchdowns. His best season came in 2013 when he threw for 2,552 yards and 33 touchdowns. He is considered a pro-style quarterback.

WR - Aidan Howard, 3-star (6'4", 184 pounds), Monroeville, Pa.

A versatile athlete, Howard played wide receiver and safety in high school and was named to first-team all-conference on offense and second-team all-conference on defense.

ATH - Bryce Hall, 2-star (6'3", 195 pounds), Harrisburg, Pa.

Hall led his high school with 54 receptions and 1,108 receiving yards in 2015 and was named first-team Class AAA all-state. He also played defensive back in high school. He was recruited as an athlete and Virginia's website currently lists him as a defensive back which suggests that is where he will play in college.

ATH - Nick Grant, 3-star (6'2", 180 pounds), Spotsylvania, Va.

Another athlete who played both wide receiver and defensive back, Grant earned first-team all-conference honors as a cornerback in 2015. He is expected to play on the defensive side of the ball in college.

DL - Osiris Crutchfield, 2-star (6'4", 225 pounds), Crozet, Va.

Crutchfield was named the Conference 29 Defensive Player of the Year and the Central Virginia Defensive Player of the Year for 2015 as a defensive end playing for Western Albemarle High School.

DE - Christian Brooks, 2-star (6'5", 230 pounds), Clifton, Va.

Brooks played his high school ball at Centreville High School and was named VHSL Group 6A second-team all-state at defensive end in 2015. He possesses great burst and good speed for his position, but is a bit undersized for a defensive lineman. He also has a brother, Caleb, who is a big prospect for the 2017 class. Getting Christian could give the Hoos a leg up with Caleb.

ILB - Landan Word, 2-star (6'3", 230 pounds), Arlington, Va.

Word certainly has the pedigree as the son of former UVa running back Barry Word. Barry ranks No. 11 in school history in career rushing yards. Landon played two years at Bishop O'Connell at both linebacker and tight end.

WR - Joe Reed, 3-star (6'2", 200 pounds), Charlotte Court House, Va.

Reed was a versatile athlete in high school, playing wide receiver, running back and safety. He also returned kicks. He was a dangerous weapon for head coach Mark McPherson at Randolph-Henry High School and McPherson made sure to find ways to put the ball in Reed's hands.

WR - Hasise Dubois, 3-star (6'3", 211 pounds), Wayne, N.J.

Dubois played primarily wide receiver and defensive back in high school, but he cycled around at multiple positions. He has the size and the talent to excel in college, but based on the tape, the way he was utilized in high school was to take advantage of the size and talent mismatch he created. How will he respond when he's no longer the biggest/best player on the field?

WR - Cole Blackman, 3-star (6'2", 190 pounds), Mechanicsville, Va.

A wide receiver at Atlee High School, Blackman played for the North team at the Blue-Gray All-American Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Blackman was a 5A second-team all-state selection for 2015 at wide receiver with 25 catches for 382 yards in seven games.

DB - Jordan Mack, 3-star (6'3", 194 pounds), Norcross, Ga.

Mack played defensive end and outside linebacker in high school presumably because of his size. In college he's best suited for defensive back, primarily safety. Based on his ability to get to the quarterback (12 sacks his senior year) don't be surprised to see a few safety blitzes from Mack.

DE - Juwan Moye, 3-star (6'3", 230 pounds), Lilburn, Ga.

Moye is a very similar player in both size and skill to Brooks. Like Brooks, he has great speed and footwork, but remains a bit undersized as a defensive lineman.

ILB - Robert Snyder, 3-star (6'3", 215 pounds), Suwanee, Ga.

Snyder was named the Gwinnett County linebacker of the year and a first-team all-star in his senior season. He played linebacker, tight end and punter, but will play linebacker in college.

DB - Chris Moore, 2-star (6'2", 185 pounds), Ashburn, Va.

Moore played receiver and defensive back for Broad Run High school. He earned first-team All-Loudon honors and was a 2015 first-team VHSL 5A all-state honoree at defensive back.

OL - Ben Knutson, 3-star (6'8", 270 pounds), Mishawaka, Ind.

At 6'8", 270 pounds, Knutson has impressive size. He was named an Associated Press Indiana High School first-team 6A all-state honoree in 2015 as an offensive lineman. He was also named the Indianapolis Star Mr. Offensive Line, given tot he top lineman in the state of Indiana.

QB - De'Vante Cross, 2-star (6'1", 184 pounds), Allentown, Pa.

A dual-threat quarterback, Cross was a starter for three years in high school. He was named the Pennsylvania 2015 Player of the Year after passing for 2,947 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushing for another 1,385 yards and 19 touchdowns.

OL - Dillon Reinkensmeyer, 2-star (6'5", 255 pounds), Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Reinkensmeyer has a tendency to play way too high, blocking players at the shoulder level. If he can get lower, he will be a player to watch with great speed and strength. He was named a first-team all-state honoree in his senior season and helped his high school win three state titles in four years.

DB - Deedrick Daniels, 2-star (5'11", 162 pounds), Tampa, Fla.

Daniles recorded 90 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2015 and was named a first-team All-Western Conference defensive back. He was also an effective receiver in high school as he led his team in receiving as a junior.

RB - Wayne Taulapapa, 2-star (5'11", 202 pounds), Honolulu, Hawaii

Taulapapa was a three-year starter at running back in high school, compiling 3,279 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns in his high school career. As a senior, he was named a first-team Honolulu Star-Advertiser all-state honoree after rushing for 1,107 yards and 18 touchdowns.

DL - Trysten Hill, 2-star (6'2", 308 pounds), Live Oak, Fla.

Hill played on both sides of the line in high school and was named a Florida Class 5A first-team all-state honoree. He is remarkably agile given his size and was able to play both in the middle and on the edge in high school. At 308 pounds, you have to think he will play in the middle in college, but his speed will still allow him to rush the quarterback effectively.

Early enrollees:
TE - Christian Baumgardner, 2-star (6'4", 230 pounds), Ocean City, N.J.
K - Holland Corbett, 3-star (6'0", 170 pounds), Fork Union, Va.
RB - Tre Harbison, 3-star (5'11", 210 pounds), Shelby, N.C.
DE - Matt Terrell, 2-star (6'4", 223 pounds), Lynchburg, Va.

Totals: 24 signed, 12 three-stars, 12 two-stars

Final thoughts on Virginia's signing class:

The Mike London ear is officially over in Charlottesville and with it goes the recruiting steals. London always was able to bring in some top-tier talent in his time at Virginia with players such as Quin Blanding, a five-star safety recruit from the 2014 class. In his first class, Mendenhall was not able to replicate that success with no recruits rated higher than three stars.

Despite not having any ties to the East Coast, Mendenhall did fairly well by grabbing nine players from Virginia, two from Florida and three from Georgia. Florida and Georgia are two good pipelines to have.

One name you did not hear on Wednesday was that of quarterback Taysom Hill. Hill was Mendenhall's former quarterback at BYU and has one year of eligibility remaining. He is scheduled to graduate in the spring and could therefore transfer to Virginia without missing any time.  While his presence would no doubt ease the transition from London to Mendenhall, you have to wonder what kind of an impact Hill could have on Virginia. When healthy, he is a dynamic playmaker who was considered among Heisman contenders in 2014. Yet, he has suffered two season-ending injuries in the past two season. He may be one of those players who's body is just telling him to stop.

Despite the low ratings there are a bunch of players with very high ceilings. This is not a particularly thrilling class on paper and Virginia is going to rank among the bottom teams in the ACC, but there is some potential here that could develop into some very solid college players. That's ultimately where Mendenhall found success at BYU. BYU did not rank particularly high in terms of recruiting during Mendenhall's tenure, but he was able to recruit players that fit his system and develop them.

Let's not forget, London routinely overachieved in recruiting and underachieved on the field. If Mendenhall can flip that, Virginia will be in good shape.

RELATED: Signing day: Fuente adds his first recruits

Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

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Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

After testing the NBA Draft waters, Georgetown center Jessie Govan decided to return to the Hoyas for his senior season.

Govan announced his intention to return on Instagram a week before the final commitment deadline.

Returning to the Hoyas is definitely a boost to the program that will be in their second year under head coach Patrick Ewing.  At 6-10, Govan was the team’s leading scorer (17.9 ppg) and rebounder (10.0 rpg) averaging a double-double last season.

Paired alongside power forward Marcus Derrickson, the Hoyas were nearly unstoppable in the paint. Derrickson though decided to forgo his senior year and signed with an agent after the season.

Had Govan decided to leave that would have meant over 56 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding would have departed (to graduation or professional pursuits) in a handful of months. Not the best outlook for a 15-win team that went 5-13 in the Big East.

Instead Ewing gets back his leading scorer that many believe he can mold as a young protégée. While in the draft process without an agent Govan had workouts with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Both are valuable experiences that he will bring to a relatively young Georgetown squad.

Having Govan for one more year will bridge Ewing’s second season to transfer big-man, Omer Yurtseven to his first year of eligibility in 2019. They were set up to having a walk-on and two sophomores being the only returning Hoyas over 6-6 for the upcoming season.


Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State


Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.


Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.