After signing 13 players in the early signing period, the Virginia football program added two more players to its 2020 class on Wednesday.
The two players are Nusi Malani, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound defensive end from California, and Demick Starling, a 6-foot, 170-pound wide receiver from Tennessee. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Lorenz Terry, a defensive lineman from the Richmond area who originally committed to UVa, will attend a prep school next year before planning on joining the Cavaliers in January.
Malani, a 3-star prospect, received offers from Arizona, Nebraska and Washington State, among others. He ultimately selected Virginia and adds depth and athleticism to the defensive end position for the Cavaliers. He’s a potential redshirt candidate given UVa’s returning talent at the defensive end position.
“Nusi has been a highly targeted prospect after playing so well as a sophomore in his team’s state championship season,” Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “He’s played in a program that has produced Power Five players and we loved his physical approach, mentality and leadership. He will be a good fit in a 3-4 scheme.”
Starling didn’t receive the same attention out of high school. He’s a speedy receiver who received offers from Liberty and Toledo, among others. He wasn’t a Power 5 target, but the Cavaliers love what they’re getting from the receiver who also starred on his school’s track team.
“Demick blossomed late in his high school career, didn’t attend summer camps, a bit of a diamond in the rough,” Mendenhall said. “We were fortunate to have one of our analysts, Zach Bradshaw, identify him. He’s an amazing, amazing athlete. Fantastic track and field competitor who excels at sprints and the high jump. We feel he has the skills, and more importantly the desire and work ethic, to fit into our wide receiver room and develop along the same path that some of our recent players at that position have.”
The Nashville native joins a wide receiver group that Mendenhall mentioned as the team’s one area of need at the early signing period. With Hasise Dubois and Joe Reed graduating out of the program, Terrell Jana is the one steady presence returning at the position. Outside of Jana, a few other players like Tavares Kelly and Billy Kemp will need to step up next season.
UVa also added Lavel Davis, a 6-7 wideout from South Carolina, in the early signing period.
Virginia’s 2020 recruiting class sits at 15 players, and the Cavaliers feel confident in the group. Here is the full list of players:
Su Agunloye, defensive lineman, 6’6”, 240 lbs
Ira Armstead, quarterback, 6’3”, 200 lbs
Sam Brady, linebacker, 6’3”, 200 lbs
Jahmeer Carter, defensive line, 6’2”, 300 lbs
Lavel Davis, wide receiver, 6’7”, 205 lbs
Elijah Gaines, defensive back, 6’2”, 185 lbs
Andrew Gentry, offensive lineman, 6’7”, 300 lbs
Dave Herard, defensive back, 6’, 170 lbs
Jonathan Horton, linebacker, 6’4”, 215 lbs
Donovan Johnson, defensive back, 6’2”, 180 lbs
Jestus Johnson III, offensive line, 330 lbs
Nusi Malani, defensive line, 6’6”, 250 lbs
Joshua Rawlings, tight end, 6’5”, 245 lbs
Demick Starling, wide receiver, 6’, 170 lbs
Brandon Williams, linebacker, 6’2”, 200 lbs
Armstead, Donovan Johnson and Rawlings are all currently enrolled at Virginia. Gaines is the one player who played high school football in Virginia. Mendenhall mentioned wanting to land more players from the Commonwealth in future seasons, but the Cavaliers did a solid job of adding talent in other areas.
UVa added three highly rated recruits from Louisiana, including four-star linebacker Brandon Williams. Despite only one commit from in-state, Virginia likes its 2020 class and feels like it’s close to fulfilling all of its needs.
“I’ve been told, based on average ratings of players, this is our top class using that metric, so we are pleased with the results,” Mendenhall said. “As I said in December, most of our needs have been met and I’ve never been able to say that all of our needs were met in a particular recruiting class, but I’m pleased with what this class brings.”