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Virginia adds 17, including 2 5-star defenders

Wednesday - 2/5/2014, 7:41pm  ET

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Virginia coach Mike London hopes he got quality over quantity.

The Cavaliers officially added 17 players Wednesday on national signing day, including two five-star defenders in safety Quin Blanding of Virginia Beach and Andrew Brown of Chesapeake, who is already enrolled.

The class is viewed by scouting services as one of the top 40 in the nation, an especially strong showing by London and his staff on the heels of a season in which the Cavaliers finished 2-10.

One of the highlights of London's recruiting pitch this year, he said, was a campaign in which he talked to each recruit about their ability to be part of helping turn the program around. One of the recruits, cornerback Jeff Farrar of Upland, Calif., tweeted a photo of the letter he got from London one day. It had Farrar's name atop the page, and said only "YOU!" when he opened the letter.

"It kind of just took off," London said Wednesday.

The recruits also developed a closeness when visiting the campus and that played a big role in helping to hold the class together. Those commitments "galvanized the class going down the stretch," London said, and the players already on the team were critical, as well.

"Even after the year, there are still players in this program that believe in what's going on" and work to convince visiting recruits that they could be the missing piece, he said. "... The best recruiters are the players on your team, and that was evident with also holding this class together."

The Cavaliers signees include nine from Virginia.

Beyond Blanding, a 6-foot-1, 210-pounder widely regarded as the top safety in the nation, and Brown, who enrolled in January and is 6-4 and over 300 pounds, the highest rated prospects are 6-foot-2 wide receiver Jamil Kamara of Virginia Beach, and 6-5 offensive lineman Steven Moss of Fredericksburg.

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VIRGINIA

National rankings (Rivals 40; ESPN 25; Scout 40).

Best in class: Quin Blanding, S, 6-4, 210, Virginia Beach. A five-star recruit rated as the top safety prospect in the nation by virtually every recruiting service. He and fellow UVA signee Andrew Brown were named co-Defensive players of the year by Tom Lemming.

Best of the rest: Andrew Brown, DT, 6-4, 290, Chesapeake. Jamil Kamara, WR, 6-2, 210, Virginia Beach. Steven Moss, OL, 6-5, 275, Fredericksburg.

Late addition: None.

One that got away: Will Richardson, OL. Originally committed to the Cavaliers, but flipped a few weeks ago and signed with N.C. State.

NOTE: Despite much speculation about London's future as the Cavaliers stumbled to a 2-10 finish, he said "it was gratifying to see that the young men that made a commitment earlier stuck with their commitment and really galvanized the entire class going down the stretch."


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