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

Virginia, Virginia Tech each moved one spot in new top-25 poll but in opposite directions


Virginia, Virginia Tech each moved one spot in new top-25 poll but in opposite directions

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Duke changed everything about who AP Top 25 voters considered to be the nation's best team with a single dominating performance against a marquee opponent.

It also gave the Blue Devils yet another milestone under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski: a record number of appearances at No. 1.

The Blue Devils jumped from fourth to first Monday in the first regular-season poll, leapfrogging Kansas at the top after a blowout win against then-No. 2 Kentucky last week. That allowed Duke to set a record with its 135th week at No. 1, breaking a tie with UCLA for the most top rankings in poll history.

The 34-point win against the Wildcats in the Champions Classic to open the season marked the program's most lopsided win against a top-5 opponent. Duke was practically flawless behind star freshmen RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, and that created a buzz about the team's already lofty potential being somehow even higher than anyone anticipated.

Granted, it was one game. And Duke (2-0) didn't look nearly so dazzling Sunday at home against Army. But that one performance caused a major voting shift, even with now-No. 2 Kansas earning a quality win of its own against then-No. 10 Michigan State in the first game of the Champions Classic.

Kansas was a solid preseason No. 1 by earning 37 of 65 first-place votes, followed by 19 for Kentucky and four for Duke. But Duke now has 48 first-place votes, claiming the top spot for all 19 voters who had Kentucky as preseason No. 1 while also causing 23 voters to switch from Kansas in the preseason Duke this week.

Duke also prompted switches from the lone voters who had Gonzaga and Villanova at No. 1 in the preseason.

The hype probably won't slow anytime soon, either. The Blue Devils have everyone's attention.

"Part of becoming good is keeping the noise out of your locker room," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the Army win. "And when something good happens and you have the start of the season ... there's a lot of noise. And for us, it's not always good noise, but in this case, it was exceptional noise. Exceptional noise.

"When you have four freshmen and we don't have veterans, you have to be more mature about listening to that."


1. Duke 2-0 (48 votes, No. 4 last week)

2. Kansas 1-0 (14 votes, No. 1 last week)

3. Gonzaga 2-0 (No. 3 last week)

4. Virginia 2-0 (2 votes, No. 5 last week)

5. Tennessee 2-0 (1 vote, No. 6 last week)

6. Nevada 2-0 (No. 7 last week)

7. North Carolina 2-0 (No. 8 last week)

8. Villanova 2-0 (No. 9 last week)

9. Auburn 2-0 (No. 11 last week)

10. Kentucky 1-1 (No. 2 last week)

11. Michigan State (No. 10 last week)

12. Kansas State 1-0 (No. 12 last week)

13. Oregon 2-0 (No. 14 last week)

14. Florida State 2-0 (No. 17 last week)

15. Syracuse 2-0 (No. 16 last week)

16. Virginia Tech 1-0 (No. 15 last week)

17. Mississippi State 2-0 (No. 18 last week)

18. Michigan 2-0 (No. 19 last week)

19. Clemson 2-0 (No. 22 last week)

20. UCLA 2-0 (No. 21 last week)

21. TCU 2-0 (No. 20 last week)

22. LSU 2-0 (No. 23 last week)

23. Purdue 2-0 (No. 24 last week)

24. Marquette 2-0 (Not ranked last week)

25. Buffalo 2-0 (Not ranked last week)


Gonzaga stayed at No. 3, followed by Virginia and Tennessee each climbing a spot to round out the top 5. Nevada, North Carolina, reigning national champion Villanova and Auburn were next, while Kentucky slid eight spots to No. 10.


There weren't any dramatic climbs beyond the Duke-Kansas change at the top. In all, 16 teams moved up this week poll, with No. 14 Florida State and No. 19 Clemson matching Duke's three-spot jump for the biggest of the week.

Twelve of the gains were merely one spot.


Kentucky's fall was the biggest for any team that stayed in the poll. The others were all modest, with four teams -- Kansas, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 16 Virginia Tech and No. 21 TCU -- falling one spot each.


There were two new teams in the poll with No. 24 Marquette and No. 25 Buffalo.

It's the first appearance for Marquette in nearly five years since last appearing at No. 25 in November 2013.

As for Buffalo, it's the first AP Top 25 appearance in program history. It comes after the Bulls got 43 points and 14 rebounds from CJ Massinburg to beat then-No. 13 West Virginia on the road -- another marquee upset for a team that beat Arizona and eventual No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Deandre Ayton in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament.


The Mountaineers slid all the way out after losing to the Bulls, which marked their first loss in a home opener since November 2003. Washington fell out from No. 25 after a loss to Auburn.


UVA vs. Liberty How to Watch: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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UVA vs. Liberty How to Watch: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Virginia Cavaliers football team fell to Pittsburgh last week, ending its three game winning streak.

They may have an easier time this week against the Liberty Flames, who are in their first year as an FBS team. They are “provisional” this year, and will be a “full” FBS team next year. They are 4-4 though.

UVA is favored by 24 points. At 4-2 in the conferene (6-3 overall) this is a big game for them as they control their own destiny in the ACC Coastal.

Here's how to watch.


What: Unviersity of Virginia Cavaliers vs. Liberty Flames

Where: Scott Stadium also known as The Ranch, located in Charlottesville, Va.

When: Saturday, November 10 at 3 p.m. EST

TV Channel: The Virginia Cavaliers vs. Liberty Flames will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)