Virginia's next step: Bringing in the athletes

Virginia coach Mike London said the “second season” began for him immediately following the season-ending loss to rival Virginia Tech. One of the most pressing issues that needed to be addressed this offseason was “the acquisition of talent.”

Translated: The Hoos need some players.

“Anybody that can run, and run fast,” London said. “I need tall, athletic players who play multiple positions.”

He’s finding them.

Virginia has lured in 24 commitments, including two members of the ESPNU 150. Three of those players -- Brandon Phelps, Clifton Richardson and David Dean -- are four-star prospects, according to ESPN Recruiting. It’s a long, lean class filled with players who are talented enough to play multiple positions, and that’s exactly what London and his staff have been looking for: athletes.

“If you can recruit some tall, long, athletic guys, that’s what we need,” London said. “Then mother nature will take over. They’ll grow into whatever we need, but you know they’re athletic and can run.”

Recruiting has been the main priority, but London said he is also trying to make sure the current athletes finish strong academically and he is still working on changing the culture and attitude surrounding Virginia football. He took important steps in that direction in his first season, but in order to change the on-field results, the recruiting has to continue to be the foundation. London said he doesn’t expect any staff changes, and continuity will help Virginia in the staff’s second season in the same system.

“The message and the guys delivering the message are always the most important parts of it,” London said. “I think right now the staff and the message about being able to play, new staff, change in the culture and turning it around is a message a lot of these young guys like to hear right now as well as their parents.”

Judging by the current class, which is ranked No. 19, they're not only listening, they're ready to sign up.