CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - While much of the nation has been on lockdown, the Virginia football team has been locking up some of the best high school recruits in the country.
The Cavaliers have received nine verbal commitments for the Class of 2021 over the last two months.
Co-defensive coordinator Kelly Poppinga says head coach Bronco Mendenhall was spearheading a change in direction.
“He was the one who was pressing the envelope, continually," says Poppinga, "from the very beginning, saying, ‘Let’s not relax right now. This is not the time to relax. This is the time to put the pedal on the floor and let’s go.’”
“Organizations are designed for the results they get," says Mendenhall. "We just shifted a lot of our focus, that would have been on our team for spring practice, into the talent acquisition, and the selection process. We put increased emphasis on it, protocols and processes that use technology, and we worked really hard.”
Mendenhall says he’s not worried about a lot of players ‘flipping’ their commitments, after they took the time to establish relationships.
“We’ve really tried to be so authentic and transparent through the virtual world," says Mendenhall, "that they could see exactly what they’re getting, and who we are, and it’s been pretty much reciprocated, on their part.”
In-home visits may, or may not be a thing of the past, but no matter what, recruiting will look different in the future.
“We can do a lot of things over Zoom calls," says Poppinga. "A lot of different things, that we just never thought we could do. The biggest thing we’re going to take away is we’re going to continue to use these Zoom calls during recruiting, to help players experience different things that they might not be able to experience until they get here.”