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Groh reels in football freshmen

After a frenzied first month on the job, Virginia football coach Al Groh delivered a solid recruiting class of 18 future Cavaliers.

When the national signing period opened Wednesday, Groh received letters of intent from all but two of the recruits who gave verbal commitments to his predecessor, George Welsh, and added three recruits of his own.

Tight end Patrick Estes of Richmond's Benedictine High and safety Randy Jones from Richmond Senior High in Rockingham, N.C., headline the class. Estes and Jones are among the best players in the nation at their positions.

Estes should get plenty of competition at tight end from Tyree Spinner, who joins his older brother Bryson with the Cavaliers. Tyree Spinner missed his senior season with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament but has the tools to be a star.

The Cavaliers, already well stocked at tailback, reeled in a potential future star in Alvin Pearman of Charlotte, N.C. Pearman, 5-foot-11, wavered on his initial verbal commitment to Welsh but stuck with Virginia despite overtures from Notre Dame, North Carolina and others.

Virginia also picked up a pair of standout wide receivers in Norfolk's Ottowa Anderson and Scott Robinson of Neshanic Station, N.J. With only four wideouts returning to the Cavaliers next season, both Anderson and Robinson have the opportunity to earn playing time as true freshmen.

Linebacker Melvin Massey of Warwick High in Newport News gives Virginia another solid building block as it rebuilds a linebacking corps that lost three senior starters. Offensive lineman Elton Brown, who played with Massey at Warwick before transferring to Hampton High, also has tremendous skills.

Groh and his young coaching staff supplemented Welsh's recruiting class by adding three prep linemen: defensive end Darryl Blackstock of Heritage High in Newport News, defensive tackle Brennan Schmidt of DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md., and Robert Jenkins of Connecticut's Milford Academy.