Thirteen Virginia football recruits sign National Letters of Intent

The 2020 recruiting class is headlined by two 4-star players

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Virginia’s 2020 recruiting class currently sits at No. 54 in the country following these 12 signees. Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The early National Signing Period for college football was open at the end of last week, as Virginia saw 13 of its 14 current commits officially sign letters of intent. The class consists of three 4-star players and 10 3-star players, according to 247Sports recruiting rankings.

Incoming freshmen offensive tackle Andrew Gentry (Littleton, Colo.), defensive end Jonathan Horton (Baton Rouge, La.) and linebacker Brandon Williams (New Orleans, La.) were the Cavaliers’ top recruits. All three players are 4-star prospects and are ranked No. 6, No. 17 and No. 25 at their respective positions nationwide. Gentry — a 6-foot-8, 310-pound lineman — committed to Virginia last week over traditional powerhouses Alabama, Michigan and Notre Dame. Horton and Williams look to join a solid pass rush that helped Virginia’s defense finish sixth in the nation in sacks this past season.

Safety Elijah Gaines (Alexandria, Va.), safety Donovan Johnson (Harvey, La.), defensive tackle Jahmeer Carter (Severn, Md.), defensive end Olasunkonmi Agunloye (Lindenhurst, N.Y.), wide receiver Lavel Davis (Dorchester, S.C.), tight end Joshua Rawlings (Pittsburgh, Pa.), center Jestus Johnson (Washington, D.C.), linebacker Sam Brady (Lincolnton, N.C.), cornerback Dave Herard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and quarterback Ira Armstead (South Bend, Ind.) rounded out the early round of signees for Virginia.

Gaines committed Dec. 15, nine days after decommitting from Penn State. National recruiting analysts say he compares favorably to former Virginia safety Anthony Harris. Alongside the 6-foot-2 Donovan Johnson, Gaines will look to contribute immediately to a secondary that was depleted last season due to multiple injuries.

Carter has been committed to Virginia since the summer of 2018. He was the first commit for the 2020 recruiting class and the first player to officially sign.

Agunloye never verbally committed to the Cavaliers during his recruitment, but instead waited until signing day to choose his school. He chose Virginia over UCLA, Syracuse and Rutgers.

With starting seniors like wide receivers Hasise Dubois and Joe Reed and tight end Tanner Cowley graduating, Davis and Rawlings address much-needed areas for the Cavaliers. Both could be viable targets for future quarterbacks.

Jestus Johnson will look to learn and develop under sophomore center Olusegun Oluwatimi, who earned an All-ACC honorable mention in his first season of action. Both players played in one of the best high school football conferences in the United States — the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

Brady’s first offer was from Virginia and he committed as soon as he received it this past summer. Similarly, Herard has been committed since June as a cornerback despite also playing quarterback in high school.

Armstead is a dual-threat quarterback, like senior quarterback Bryce Perkins. He has been clocked as running a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, making him a potentially exciting passer for Virginia in the future.

Although 13 players have officially signed, the Cavaliers came into Wednesday with 15 commits. Defensive end Lorenz Terry (Richmond) is not expected to sign until the next signing period in February. Bud Clark (Alexandria, Va.) — a 4-star safety — had been committed to Virginia since April, but flipped and signed with TCU.

Virginia’s 2020 recruiting class currently sits at No. 50 in the country following these 13 signees. With under two months to go until the next and final signing period, the Cavaliers should expect to add more talent coming off ACC Championship and Orange Bowl appearances.

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