- - Wednesday, February 1, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid had a piece of advice for the 25 players who sent faxes in Wednesday.

“Don’t let signing day be the biggest day of your college career,” he said. “Tomorrow, it’s back to work.”

For one day, though, U.Va. pulled out all the stops to celebrate another strong recruiting class. About 500 fans filed into John Paul Jones Arena for a pep rally, greeted at the door by a handful of players.

Demetrious Nicholson handed out programs, while Morgan Moses was a fan favorite for autographs and photos.

“I never want it to appear that we’re sitting up here and everybody else is down there,” coach Mike London said, inviting fans to mingle with the coaches and players after showing highlight videos of the recruits.

The assistant coaches also were able to share, for the first time, their thoughts on the players they recruited.

Reid is responsible for the Richmond area, and was pleased with the three players the Cavaliers were able to land, including two from Varina — Maurice Canady and Tyrell Chavis.

“A couple of coaches in the SEC told me they thought Tyrell was the best defensive lineman in the state,” Reid said. “Of course I’d agree with that, since we got him.”

Canady has yet to settle on a position for college, in part due to a recent growth spurt.

“If he had played his junior year like he did his senior year, he might be a four or five-star guy,” Reid said. “He grew two inches, and ran two 4.4 forties at our camp.”

Also committing from the area was Hermitage’s Andre Miles-Redmond.

“Not only is he highly intelligent, he’s a guy who can play hard and not lose his feet,” Reid said. “Not many guys want to be an offensive lineman. This guy wants to be an offensive lineman.”

Receivers coach and former Cavs star Shawn Moore was asked not about any of the players he brought in, but a recruitment he recused himself from — that of his son, defensive end Mike Moore.

Moore was recruited by Anthony Poindexter, and while Mike’s dad accompanied him on visits, he said he tried to act as though he had never been to Charlottesville.

“He really wanted to go to the school that is the best fit for him,” Shawn said. “Having dad here too, that’s a bonus.”

The elder Moore, who played before the race in facilities, was captivated by what he saw nationally.

“To me, I was more impressed with Notre Dame than my son was,” he said. “Places like Florida and Tennessee, the facilities are second to none. But I think he saw so many places that to him, it was just one place looked like the next.”

The defensive line got the biggest boost Wednesday, with Moore and five-star player Eli Harold signing. Harold is the first player with a top ranking to sign with U.Va. since Eugene Monroe.

Nearly all of the class committed months ago, but that didn’t stop London from having a sleepless night. He said that he stayed up into the night flipping channels, setting on old reruns of the “Sally Jessy Raphael” show.

Before the pep rally, he pounded a few 5-Hour Energy drinks.

“You’re always worried about guys decommitting at the last minute,” the coach said.

Reid took matters into his own hands, driving around the area visiting the signees well after they’d signed. He got antsy on Saturday and flew to Massachusetts to check in with wide receiver Canaan Severin, adding that he’s glad he did because he got to see Severin play in a “terrific” basketball game.

London said the goal now is to turn these recruits into recruiters, sending them back into their communities after a year with the message that “they’re treating people well here.”

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