Mendenhall okay with Cavaliers' recruiting rankings

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The letters of intent starting arriving at the McCue Center just after 7 a.m. Wednesday. By mid-afternoon, 19 recruits had officially signed with the Virginia football program. Linebacker Nick Jackson made it an even 20 when his letter arrived Wednesday evening. ranks UVA's 2019 recruiting class at No. 32 nationally, and fifth in the ACC. According to the site's ratings, it includes UVA's first three four-star recruits of Bronco Mendenhall's coaching tenure at the school. has UVA's class ranked No. 34 nationally, while ranked the Cavaliers' class at No. 39 in the country.

Mendenhall is not big on star ratings -- but he wasn't arguing with those evaluations when he spoke to reporters Wednesday afternoon.

"Our momentum generated by this class, by outside and objective raters, has this class fairly high. Which means that there's a perception of momentum and positive things happening at UVA.," Mendenhall said. "In this particular case, it happens to be right. We are gaining momentum. The class is strong. And so, yeah, it's just one of those things that aligns."

Defensive lineman Jowon Briggs from Cincinnati, offensive lineman Ja'Quay Hunbbard from Pennsylvania, and linebacker Hunter Stewart from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC are the three four-star recruits in UVA's class according to Rivals.

Briggs will compete in the Under Armour All-America Game next month in Orlando. Also a four-star recruit according to and, Briggs is ranked the No. 3 defensive tackle in the country, and No. 60 overall recruit nationally by Rivals.

"He's a renaissance man," Mendenhall said of Briggs. "And he could probably walk into any field here and have success right from the beginning."

Briggs and in-state recruit Ben Smiley were the two defensive linemen in the class. Stewart was one of three linebackers, along with Josh Ahern from Lake Braddock High School and D'Sean Perry from Miami. UVA's class was heavy on defensive backs, with two from Florida (Antonio Clary and Major Williams), in-state recruit Chayce Chalmers, South Carolina product Fentrell Cypress, and late addition Tenyeh Dixon from Woodson High School.

Hubbard was one of three out-of-state offensive linemen to sign with UVA, along with Jonathan Leech from Georgia and Zachary Teter from Florida. The Cavaliers also landed two running backs -- Mike Hollins from Louisiana and Seneca Milledge from Florida -- and three wide receivers, all listed at at least 6-2 -- Dorien Goddard of Tennessee, Dontayvion Wicks of Louisiana, and another late addition to the class, Nathaniel Beal of Houston.

Rounding out the class is quarterback RJ Harvey from Orlando, who Mendenhall said has a skill set similar to current UVA quarterback Bryce Perkins, but with a build similar to current wide receivers coach (and former UVA quarterback) Marques Hagans.

"So almost all areas at least at the initial stages of the class, as far as we can evaluate, through high school, have been addressed and met at a high level," Mendenhall said. "So I'm encouraged and excited and think momentum has been generated for our program, for our team, and for all parties around the program."

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