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Analysis: Virginia signs tiny class of 10, including transfer, for 2022

virginia football
Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Bronco Mendenhall’s class of 16 recruits ended up being nine after Mendenhall stepped down, and Tony Elliott was named coach six days before signing day, which was today.

Nine.

Not going to be an issue next year or even in 2023, but Elliott’s Years 4 and 5 might hurt a bit for the lack of numbers coming in.

The class was bolstered a tiny bit by the addition of Wisconsin transfer Devin Chandler, a redshirt sophomore who saw limited action, mostly on special teams, in two seasons in Madison.

Not sure whether we should get too excited there, because at most Chandler, a three-star recruit out of high school, is depth at wideout, a position group of strength on the roster.

There is one wide receiver among the incoming freshmen to get excited about: Dakota Twitty, a 6’5” four-star recruit from Columbus, N.C, ranked the 50th best wideout recruit nationally by 247Sports.

Kinda hoping here that Twitty gets a redshirt in 2022, a chance to learn from the veterans coming back, with an opportunity then to earn some snaps in the spring of 2023.

Virginia also secured the paperwork of Lynchburg Christian Academy dual-threat QB Davis Lane Jr., a three-star recruit listed as the top quarterback recruit in the Commonwealth in 2022 by 247Sports. Lane just led LCA to a state championship game appearance, throwing for more than 1,800 yards and accounting for 30 TDs through the air and on the ground in 2021.

Lane is also a standout on the track, recording a 6.41 second time in the 55-meter hurdles at the 2021 VHSL Indoor Championships earlier this year.

Joining Lane in the QB room will be Corona, Calif., three-star Delaney Crawford, who is also a track standout, earning all-state recognition from MileStat in the 300-meter hurdles and the 100-meter dash.

The thinking here is that Lane and Crawford can spend 2022 learning the offense and getting themselves into position to compete with Jay Woolfolk and whoever Elliott brings in off the transfer portal for the QB1 job in the spring of 2023.

And if Elliott decides to use the offensive scheme that Mendenhall’s offensive coordinator, Robert Anae, built around using Keytaon Thompson all over the field, Lane and Crawford both would figure to slide into that Football Player role nicely as well.

Next on the list: hey, it will be interesting to see if Will Bettridge, the top-rated placekicker in the class of 2022, will figure into the mix on special teams in 2022. Kohl’s Kicking has Bettridge rated as a five-star.

Bettridge was 31-of-43 on field-goal attempts at Gulliver Prep (Miami, Fla.), his long coming from 54 yards.

That sounds like a get right there.

The rest: there’s a Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year (three-star tailback Xavier Brown), linebacker depth (Atlanta three-star Stevie Bracey, Chattanooga three-star Trey McDonald), a rangy wideout (6’5” Brooklyn three-star Sean Wilson) and a 6’6” tight end (Chattanooga three-star Karson Gay).

The class was ranked 79th by 247Sports and 84th by Rivals, but the low overall rankings are entirely due to the low number of signees.

There are some dudes here, with Twitty, Wilson and Gay giving you some big targets in the passing game, Lane and Crawford maybe able to contribute right away at the FBP spot, and Bettridge having to be in the mix at placekicker, a weak link for the 2021 special-teams group.

The low numbers, again, will hurt down the road, particularly with exactly zero of these 10 guys being linemen.

Next year’s targeting is going to need to go double-time at O and D line to make up for that.

Now, on to the transfer portal, to get us some O and D linemen and linebackers for 2022.

Story by Chris Graham


augusta free press
augusta free press