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Feb. 6, 2002

How did other ACC schools do on Signing Day?

Clemson North Carolina
Duke N.C. State
Florida State Virginia
Georgia Tech Wake Forest

Complete List of 2002 Virginia Signees

AP Sports Writer

Al Groh’s first season as football coach at Virginia ended with a 5-7 record and mixed reviews, but the former New York Jets coach is obviously doing a good job persuading high school players to be part of a Cavaliers turnaround.

Groh and his staff on Wednesday pulled off one of the biggest surprises of National Signing Day, getting commitments from 26 blue-chip prospects, and wooing enough highly sought players to rate among the best classes in the country.

“If you want to have fast guys, recruit fast guys. If you want to have big guys, recruit big guys. If you want to have winners on your team, recruit guys who know what it takes to win,” Groh said, adding this class possesses all three.

The Cavaliers’ list includes four Parade All-Americans – linebackers Ahmad Brooks of Woodbridge, Va., and Kai Parham of Virginia Beach, running back Michael Johnson of Newport News, Va., and defensive end Kwakou Robinson of New York.

It is a list that caught the attention of national recruiting analysts, who were surprised to see Virginia in the top 10 with Texas and other powers.

“Virginia stands out as the most pleasant surprise of the year,” said Allen Wallace of SuperPrep Magazine. Wallace called Monday, when Brooks and Parham committed to Virginia, “the best recruiting day you could ever expect to have.”

Brooks, 6-foot-4 and 242 pounds, was USA Today’s national defensive player of the year. He picked Virginia over Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Florida State.

Parham, 6-3, 233, picked the Cavaliers over Tennessee.

Groh, a former linebackers coach and defensive coordinator in the NFL, said the announcements for Virginia on the same day by Brooks and Parham set off a celebration “that looked like Mardi Gras in the corridor” of the football office.

“We had a picture in our mind of what type of player we want to have on the team and we decided to go for it with those guys,” he said of the two linebackers, who were among the last to say they would be joining the Cavaliers’ program.

“I think when you go after that type of player, there’s a great value in being able to say, ‘Look, you’re our guy. We’re not recruiting four or five guys for the position. You have what we want and we’re going to hold out for it,”‘ he said.

Anthony Martinez, a second-team all-state quarterback in Virginia, was among the early players to say he would attend Virginia, and Groh said the early shows of confidence in the Cavaliers program was a help in selling later recruits.

“Other players could see what was happening here,” he said.

The Cavaliers’ class also includes 6-6, 272-pound offensive lineman Brett Tobin of Green Bay, Wis., and 5-11 running back Tony Franklin of Cleveland, one of six running backs on the list.

Franklin rushed for 3,400 yards and scored 43 touchdowns, leading St. Peter Chanel to an Ohio state title.

“Certainly it’s a very exciting day. We brought some significant talent onto this team,” Groh said, comparing the list to a good pick in the NFL draft.

“When we picked a player off the draft board that we really wanted, we knew that we had made our team better at that moment. We couldn’t wait to start coaching them, and I think that’s the attitude of the staff right now,” he said.


The following is a list of individuals who have signed letters-of-intent on Wednesday (Feb. 6) to attend the University of Virginia on football grants-in-aid.

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School/Prep School)
Robert Armstrong DE 6-3 286 Alexandria, Va. (Washington-Lee)
D.J. Bell OL/DL 6-4 285 Camden, Del. (Caesar Rodney)
Darryl Blackstock LB 6-4 224 Newport News, Va. (Fork Union Military Acad.)
Ahmad Brooks LB 6-4 242 Woodbridge, Va. (C.D. Hylton)
Brad Butler OL 6-8 268 Lynchburg, Va. (E.C. Glass)
Braden Campbell DE 6-5 255 Slippery Rock, Pa. (Slippery Rock)
Keenan Carter NT 6-1 299 Dumfries, Va. (Potomac Senior)
Ron Darden OL 6-4 315 Pasadena, Md. (Glen Burnie)
Willie Davis S 6-2 182 Wilmington, N.C. (Laney)
Lance Evans S 6-4 201 Voorhees, N.J. (Eastern)
D’Brickashaw Ferguson OL 6-4 265 Freeport, N.Y. (Freeport)
Tony Franklin RB 5-11 177 Cleveland, Ohio (St. Peter Chanel)
Tom Hagan P 6-2 175 Roanoke, Va. (Cave Spring)
Marcus Hamilton CB 6-0 177 Centreville, Va. (Centreville)
Robert Jenkins OL 6-4 280 Bronx, N.Y. (Nassau C.C.)
Michael Johnson RB 5-10 187 Newport News, Va. (Heritage)
Wali Lundy RB 6-1 204 Willingboro, N.J. (Holy Cross)
Anthony Martinez QB 6-3 217 Montpelier, Va. (Patrick Henry)
Ron Morton WR 6-1 178 Hamilton, N.J. (Hamilton West)
Stefan Orange CB 6-2 181 Culpeper, Va. (Culpeper)
Kai Parham LB 6-3 233 Virginia Beach, Va. (Princess Anne)
Kwakou Robinson DE 6-4 303 Brooklyn, N.Y. (Poly Prep)
Jason Snelling FB 6-1 221 Chester, Va. (L.C. Bird)
Damian Spradlin OL 6-3 284 Montvale, Va. (Liberty)
Brett Tobin OL 6-6 272 Green Bay, Wisc. (Pulaski)
Kenneth Tynes RB 6-0 186 Clifton, Va. (Centreville)
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