CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Mike London worried that an offseason of upheaval could cause Virginia to lose recruits.
Turns out there was no need to be concerned.
After retooling his staff and bringing in five new coaches, London gathered all his recruiting targets and their parents for a weekend to let them interact with the new coaches and to reinforce the message of what the school offered, not only in football, but academically.
"It was kind of like a convention there, because I asked everyone to stand up who was solidly committed," London recalled. "And they all stood up and it was a great scene to see that there was a recommitment on their visit. And as I said, there are a lot of people that go into having made that successful."
While London was trying to refill his coaching staff, the four holdover coaches worked tirelessly to stay in contact with all their recruits.
"The guys that had to keep it together did, I thought, a fabulous job of doing so," London said.
Despite those upheaval, the Cavaliers signed 21 players Wednesday, and even got two late surprises on the offensive line.
The Cavaliers' class grew early when Eric Tetlow of Richmond, who had once committed to Wake Forest, instead signed with Virginia. And it grew again Wednesday morning when George Adeosun, a late-blooming offensive lineman from Alpharetta, Ga., picked Virginia over several other BCS suitors.
Both players fill needs for depth on the line.
London said he knew both decisions could go down to the wire — Tetlow called to inform him of his decision at 12:15 a.m. — and that made the remaining hours before the National Letters of Intent started flowing into Virginia's McCue Center on Wednesday morning as stressful as having posed that question.
"That was a calculated risk right there," he said, laughing, adding that Adeosun was in the room, and started to stand, but didn't.
"But it was great that here last night or this morning that George stood up," he said.
The jewel of the Cavaliers' class, 5-star running back Taquan Mizzell of Virginia Beach, could make bringing more linemen in easy, too, London said.
The class includes 10 players from Virginia, and players from five others states.
The most notable are 6-2, 190-pound defensive back Tim Harris of Richmond and 5-11, 180-pound Kirk Garner of Baltimore, defensive tackle Donta Wilkins of Woodbridge and quarterback Corwin Cutler of Virginia Beach, a highly rated passer whose senior season was cut short by a severe knee injury.
The goal eventually, London said, is to be able to redshirt all but the very best players, allowing them to mature physically.
"I would say we're not quite at that point of being able to have the luxury to do that," he said, "but we're moving in that direction."