Mendenhall: Virginia signs 26 in ‘foundational’ class

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Bronco Mendenhall says Virginia has moved from the “transitional” phase of recruiting to the “foundational” phase.

The school received 21 commitments from recruits on Wednesday, and has also added four recruits who are already enrolled. The additions also include offensive lineman Colin McGovern, a transfer from Notre Dame who will be eligible to play right away, shoring up one of the team’s biggest weaknesses last year.

Mendenhall, coming off a debut season in which the Cavaliers were 2-10, said one of his priorities remains putting in place a system of natural progression at most positions. The coach added that it will take several years of blending freshmen to be developed and a smattering of transfers who can fill positions right away.

“There’s a nice blend of graduate transfers, immediate need, probably instant rotational freshmen,” Mendenhall said, adding that the class also includes the beginnings of what he called “stacking” at positions. For Mendenhall, that means when one player graduates or gets sidelined, there will be someone behind him prepared to take over the position.

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Other things to know:

Top 25 Class: No

Best in class: Germane Crowell, a defensive back from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, follows in the footsteps of his father and uncle in choosing Virginia. His father, also named Germane, ranks sixth in program history with 2,142 receiving yards and played in the NFL for five seasons with Detroit. His uncle, Angelo Crowell, was a linebacker who played five years in the NFL with Buffalo.

Best of the rest: QB Lindell Stone, of Dallas, Texas, threw for 3,380 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior at Woodberry Forest, a private school within a half-hour of Charlottesville; RBs Lamont Atkins of Burke, Virginia, and Jamari Peacock of Yulee, Florida, who both enrolled in January; OL Ryan Nelson of Buena Park, California.

Late addition: None, but Mendenhall is expecting to sign two, or possibly more, transfers, including a quarterback with two years of eligibility remaining.

One that got away: OL Mekhi Becton, Highland Springs, Virginia, announced Wednesday he will attend Louisville.

How they’ll fit in: Mendenhall has made it clear he’s a willing participant in the transfer game. While some players might turn their nose up at a 2-10 record and go elsewhere, the coach seems to be attracting players like McGovern who can fill gaps and give the Cavaliers a chance at some success