Per Good Counsel football, senior wide receiver Stefon Diggs is down to 8 schools: Auburn, California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Southern Cal and Virginia. Good Counsel revealed the news via Twitter.
Diggs, rated a 5-star prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com and a 4-star recruit by ESPN.com, averaged 21.4 yards per catch and 16.3 yards per rush in helping the Falcons to an undefeated season, a WCAC championship and a no. 7 ranking in the USA Today Super 25. The 6’1″, 185-pound senior finished the year with 770 yards receiving and eight touchdowns and 277 yards rushing and three scores. A defensive back as well, Diggs had four interceptions and 10 pass break-ups this year.
Diggs attended Virginia’s regular season finale against Virginia Tech on an unofficial visit. He has yet to make any official visits but plans to take all five allotted officials before making a commitment. He’ll play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January, as will UVa commits Eli Harold and Kwontie Moore.
Update: A day following the initial news, Diggs eliminated Maryland and added Virginia Tech to his list. The news was reported here.
- Offensive guard/defensive tackle Andre Miles-Redmond and the Hermitage Panthers (Richmond, VA) have reached the Division 6 state semifinals after defeating L.C. Bird, 10-0, in the Division 6, Central Region final. The Panthers’ starting defensive unit has allowed only one touchdown on the season.
Hermitage will host Centreville (featuring standout senior defensive end Ken Ekanem) this Saturday.
- Cornerback C.J. Moore and the Buford Wolves (GA) captured win number 13 on the season, defeating Elbert County 49-13 in the Class AA state quarterfinals. Buford, undefeated on the year, will face Carver in the state semifinals. Buford won the regular season match-up by 28 points.
- St. Joseph (Hammonton, N.J.) won its rivalry game against Hammonton, 32-3, to improve to 9-0 on the season. Up next is Non-Public Group 1 state championship game against St. Mary of Rutherford.
Virginia-bound senior Max Valles, one of St. Joe’s top players, is a prospect with potential at defensive end, tight end or perhaps wide receiver.
TheSabre.com has confirmed that 5-star senior Stefon Diggs will be in attendance for UVa’s home game against Virginia Tech on Saturday. The news was first tweeted by Mike Farrell of Rivals.com.
Diggs, a 6’1″, 185-pound wide receiver out of Good Counsel High School (Olney, MD), is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the entire 2012 class. Following this weekend’s visit, he reportedly will narrow his list of suitors to seven on November 29 (his birthday).
We’re also hearing that Diggs will be joined by several Good Counsel teammates Saturday, including 2013 class recruits Kirk Garner (CB), Calvin Jones (S), Andre Levrone (WR), Brendan Marshall (QB), Marcel Ngachie (LB) and Dorian O’Daniel (LB/RB). UVa has reportedly offered all of the Falcons juniors with the exception of Garner.
TheSabre.com will provide a full list of those confirmed visitors in a “Notes” piece on Friday. Diggs highlights what is expected to be a large number of prospects in attendance.
It was a tough week on the gridiron for University of Virginia recruits, as only Andre Miles-Redmond and C.J. Moore tasted victory in playoff action. Those two, as well as defensive end/athlete recruit Max Valles, remain in the hunt for state championships.
Byes: Max Valles (DE, St. Joseph (Hammonton, N.J.))
- Demeitre Brim had 191 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns, including an 81-yarder for the first score of the game, but Victory Christian Academy (Lakeland, FL) fell to St. John Lutheran in overtime, 28-26. It was the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.
VCA captured a district title and finishes with an 8-3 record.
- Hampton (VA) saw its season come to an end with a 20-14 loss to Norcom in the Eastern Region Division 5 semifinals. WR Jamall Brown and the Crabbers scored two touchdowns to start the game before surrendering 20 unanswered points.
- Wide receiver Anthony Cooper had four catches for 110 yards and a touchdown but Bayside (Virginia Beach, VA) fell to Salem in an Eastern Region Division 6 semifinal. The Marlins conclude 2011 with nine wins and three losses.
- A touchdown brought Varina (VA) within five points at 21-16, and the Blue Devils recovered the ensuing onside kick to put themselves in position to score a comeback win over L.C. Bird in the Central Region Division 6 semifinals. The Skyhawks, though, didn’t let that happen, forcing a Maurice Canady fumble to secure the win.
Canady, who will start out at corner at UVa, completed 12 of 23 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Canady, DT/OL Tyrell Chavis and the rest of the Blue Devils finish the season with a district title and an 8-3 overall record.
- Central Bucks South (Warrington, PA) quarterback Matt Johns rushed 27 yards for the go-ahead score with 3:43 left, but Garnet Valley responded with a 21-yard touchdown pass in the final minute to capture a 52-48 win in a District One quarterfinal. The Titans finish with an 8-4 overall record.
Prior to the game, Garnet Valley head coach Mike Ricci had the following to say about Johns: “Their quarterback (Matt Johns) is spectacular,” Ricci said in an article on www.delcotimes.com. “He’s 6-5, 200 pounds and he’s got a great arm. He’s very well coached and he’s got some real good receivers to throw to.”
- OL Andre Miles-Redmond and the Hermitage Panthers (Richmond, VA) will get to face the aforementioned L.C. Bird Skyhawks in the Central Region Division 6 final after defeating Thomas Dale, 14-0. The Panthers have yet to lose a game this season.
- CB C.J. Moore and the Buford Wolves (GA) also scored a shutout, downing Jefferson County 31-0 to move on to the third round of the Class AA playoffs. An undefeated Buford squad next faces Elbert County.
- Seven turnovers doomed Norfolk Christian’s (Norfolk, VA) attempt at a second consecutive VISAA, Division 3 state championship. The Ambassadors fell behind 18-0 at the half and couldn’t rally, ultimately losing to North Cross 26-13. Norfolk Christian defeated North Cross to win the state title last season.
The Ambassadors will send four players on to UVa next season: LB Kwontie Moore, WR Mario Nixon, DB/WR Wilfred Wahee and DE Courtnye Wynn
- Stratford (Houston, TX), featuring CB Kelvin Rainey, lost to Nederland in double-overtime in the Class 4A Division 1 area playoffs. The Spartans finished the year with seven wins to five losses.
On an unseasonably balmy day at Klockner Stadium, the Virginia women’s soccer team defeated Virginia Tech 4-0 to advance to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals. After being eliminated in the round of 16 for the last 5 years, the victory was especially sweet for the Cavaliers.
“We fully expected a tough game and it shows how well our team played that we scored four goals on them,” Virginia coach Steve Swanson said. “We have been in their position the last few years, losing in this round, and it’s a tough way to end the season. I am just so pleased for our team that we are moving on to next weekend.”
After a competitive first 20 minutes, in which both Virginia and Virginia Tech were unable to convert on several golden scoring opportunities, the floodgates broke open for UVa with 17:52 remaining in the first half. That’s when Virginia sent a cross sailing to the far post from the left sideline where freshman phenom Morgan Brian controlled the ball, determined that she had no angle on the goal, and flicked the ball backwards with the sole of her foot to Lauren Alwine, who composedly passed the ball into the net from 6 yards out.
Two minutes later, Julia Roberts converted a free kick from 25 yards out. The goal was her fourth scored in such fashion this season. Karma served Brian well less than a minute later when, after selflessly assisting on the Cavaliers’ first goal, she scored from 10 yards out off another Molly Menchel cross from the left flank. Brian was again rewarded in the 71st minute when Alwine sent a blistering ball to a nearly-vacant box from the right corner. Erica Hollenberg one-touched the cross back to the oncoming Brian who feigned a shot to escape her defender and scored easily from 10 yards out.
Virginia Tech entered Sunday’s game with soaring confidence after having defeated both the Big East Conference Champion West Virginia and Big 12 Conference Champion Texas A&M in the first and second round. Hokie coach Chugger Adair suggested that his team’s tough prior matchups hampered VT’s play against Virginia.
“It was definitely a difficult game for us today. Virginia’s a great team. We expended a lot of energy against Texas A&M to get that result and we just ran out of energy. We ended up chasing and losing our legs,” Adair said.
As Virginia Tech tired as the game progressed, UVa’s dominance was amplified. Virginia’s fast-paced, passing-oriented play required the Hokies to chase the ball continuously and exacerbated their fatigue. “They come out and try to score against us, and not just play for the tie which helps us to stick to our game plan,” said Hollenberg. Virginia Tech’s gutsy offensive strategy, when unsuccessful, however, makes them more vulnerable to counterattacks, to which they fell victim against the Cavaliers.
Coaches and players on both teams unanimously attested to two key factors which enabled Virginia’s victory: the Cavaliers’ success when scoring first and the near-perfection with which they executed their possession-oriented play. Adair, too, admitted the flustering effect of Virginia’s disproportionate time of possession.
“Once we got that first goal, they kept coming and it gave us a lot of energy,” said Hollenberg. Both Adair and Swanson agreed that a stroke of luck in Virginia Tech’s favor allowing the Hokies to score first would have decisively altered the game. The Cavaliers thankfully have been able to capitalize on the forces of momentum in the postseason to date. “You can never underestimate the first goal. It’s hard to chase the game. If you look at the last two games for VT, they’ve scored early and that’s made the difference for them,” said Swanson.
While Swanson was pleased with the possession and tempo his team demonstrated against the Hokies, he believes there to still be room for improvement.
The NCAA Tournament round of 16 included 8 ACC teams. Virginia will face yet another ACC rival in Florida State in their quarterfinal matchup. Virginia split the regular season with the Seminoles, who eliminated the Cavaliers in the ACC Tournament. Coach Swanson, while characteristically humble and wary of pressuring his team with expectations, is carefully optimistic.
“We’re playing as well if not better than any team I’ve had before at this stage. There’s a lot of confidence. There’s a lot of optimism. … There’s a real fighting quality with this group,” he said. “They’re very competitive. They play really well and move the ball well. They’re not caught up with individual statistics.”
The No. 8 Virginia women’s soccer team (16-4-2) faced Washington State (12-7-2) for the second time this season on Friday night. From the kickoff, it had all too much the familiar feel from that first game in September: dominating possession from the Cavaliers with a lot of opportunities, but no conversions. These two teams played to a scoreless draw earlier this year even though the play was lopsided in Virginia’s favor.
In front of a smaller crowd on a very frigid Friday evening, the Cavaliers outshot the Cougars 22-1 and had a 7-3 corner kick advantage. Despite deflections off the crossbar and a solid effort from Washington State’s goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, who had seven saves, this time Virginia netted three goals to solidify a 3-0 defeat and their seventh straight trip to the NCAA third round this Sunday.
“We beat a very good team in Washington State tonight,” UVa coach Steve Swanson said in a VirginiaSports.com news release. “They are one of the better defensive teams we have seen all year, so to get three goals on them tells how well we played tonight. We had a really good week of practice and that carried over into the game. Our crosses were sharp, our finishing was good and our possession was excellent.”
The Cavaliers showed impeccable poise Friday night with many people commenting from the stands about how fluid the passing was and how composed the players seemed. In soccer, it is called “letting the ball do the work,” and that is just what enabled the Hoos to spread out a good Washington State defense and finish their scoring opportunities. Friday night’s game was a total team effort, and at this point in the season, that is what separates the good teams from the great teams.
The Cavaliers only needed the first 17 minutes of play to score what would be the game-deciding goal. After hitting the crossbar minutes before, senior Lauren Alwine found the back of the net for the first goal of the evening. Junior Julia Roberts fed a beautiful ball inside the box where freshman Morgan Brian was able to flick it in front of the goal for Alwine to crash on it and score. That was Alwine’s third goal of the season. Just 14 minutes later, sophomore Gloria Douglas scored her seventh goal of the season for Virginia after receiving a pass from freshman Danielle Colaprico. Then early in the second half, junior Caroline Miller received a ball from sophomore Molly Menchel to cap off the evening’s scoring with a crafty left-footed finish from within the six-yard box. She leads the Cavaliers in goals this season with 15.
Virginia’s senior goalkeeper Chantel Jones completed her 46th career shutout. Not only does she hold the NCAA record for total career shutouts, but she has also tied her own school record set for single season shutouts with 13, which she shares with Christina de Vries who originally set this record in 2004. Jones had 13 shutouts in 2007 too.
The solid win over Washington State should boost the confidence of this Virginia team as it prepares to host Virginia Tech (14-7-1) on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Hokies advanced with a 3-1 win against Texas A&M. Earlier this season the Cavaliers beat the Hokies 4-0, but it’s never an easy game against an ACC rival such as this one.
“Virginia Tech is going to be another huge challenge,” Swanson said in the news release. “All you have to do is look at the results and see how good the ACC has been. They are a good team and we knew that the first time we played them. We happened to finish very well when we played them last month, but that was a tough game and we are expecting a tough game again on Sunday.”
Byes: Demeitre Brim (OLB/ATH, Victory Christian Academy (Lakeland (FL)), Max Valles (DE/ATH, St. Joseph (Hammonton, N.J.))
The following players had their seasons come to an end prior to this week: Ryan Doull (OL, Fork Union Military Academy), Adrian Gamble (WR, Fork Union Military Academy), Sean Karl (OL, Eastport-South Manor (Manorville, N.Y.), Greyson Lambert (QB, Wayne County (Jesup, GA))
- A pair of Virginia commits met when Hampton (VA) took on Green Run (Virginia Beach, VA) in the Division 5, Eastern Region quarterfinals. WR Jamall Brown and the Crabbers came out on top, defeating LB/TE Mark Hall and the Green Run Stallions, 16-12.
Hampton (9-2) will meet Norcom in the semifinals next week, while Green Run finishes the season with a 5-6 record. Hall projects to be an outside linebacker when he arrives on grounds next year.
- Wide receiver Anthony Cooper had 11 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns (44, 15) as Bayside defeated Woodside, 27-21, in the Division 6, Eastern Region quarterfinals. The Marlins (9-2) take on Beach District rival Salem in the semifinals next week.
- Maurice Canady, Tyrell Chavis and the Varina Blue Devils (VA) had already secured a playoff berth before Friday night’s match-up with rival Highland Springs. It’s a good thing, as the Springers defeated Stu Brown’s squad, 12-7.
Canady, a cornerback prospect for UVa, rushed 17 times for 131 yards and an 8-yard score.
Varina (8-2) moves on to the Division 6 Central Region semifinals at L.C. Bird next week. Bird features Virginia Tech-bound linebacker Deon Clarke.
- TE/LB Kyle Dockins had six catches for 55 yards, but Landstown (Virginia Beach, VA) was held without an offensive score in the Division 6, Eastern Region quarterfinals against Grassfield. Grassfield got the win, 17-6, and Landstown’s season comes to an end with an 8-3 record.
- Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA) had its season come to an end after losing to Salem, 62-28, in the Division 6, Eastern Region quarterfinals. Eli Harold, a top defensive end prospect, had 13 rushes for 76 yards and two scores in a losing effort. The Dolphins finish 2011 with an 8-3 record.
Junior quarterback target Bucky Hodges had 420 total yards (324 passing, 96 rushing) and five touchdowns (3 passing, 2 rushing) for Salem.
- Central Bucks South (Warrington, PA) advanced to the second round of the Division One Class AAAA playoffs after taking care of Plymouth-Whitemarsh, 52-24. The Titans (8-3) scored on their first seven possessions, dismantling a defense that had only allowed 7.2 points per game in the regular season.
Quarterback Matt Johns, the subject of TheSabre’s “Season Diary” feature, had touchdown passes of 42 and 24 yards in the win.
- Hermitage (Richmond, VA), featuring UVa-bound offensive guard/defensive tackle Andre Miles-Redmond, concluded an undefeated regular season with a 38-14 win over Patrick Henry. The Panthers (10-0) move on to the Division 6, Central Region semifinals next week.
- Malvern Prep (Malvern, PA), which features UVa-bound OL Michael Mooney, captured the Inter-Academic League championship with a 23-0 win over Chestnut Hill. The title is the 30th in school history. Malvern Prep ends up with a 9-1 overall record.
- Buford (GA) defeated Temple, 49-13, in the first round of the Class AA playoffs. The Wolves (11-0), featuring Virginia-bound cornerback C.J. Moore, face Jefferson County in the second round next week.
- RB Kye Morgan rushed for 63 yards, but it wasn’t enough as Franklin (Somerset, N.J.) fell to East Orange in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 playoffs. Franklin does have one more game left to play, a Thanksgiving Day game against Piscataway. Morgan will leave as the school’s all-time leading rusher.
- DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD) could not hold off Gonzaga, which rallied from a 20-12 fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Stags (6-4), 28-27, in the WCAC semifinals. DE/TE Michael Moore concludes an outstanding 3-year varsity career at DeMatha.
- WR Mario Nixon had two catches for 122 yards and a touchdown as Norfolk Christian (Norfolk, VA) blanked Isle of Wight, 45-0, in the VIS Division III semifinals. Kwontie Moore, a projected middle linebacker, had six carries for 67 yards for the Ambassadors. WR/DB Wil Wahee contributed a touchdown as well.
Norfolk Christian (8-2), seeking back-to-back state titles, will face North Cross in a rematch of last year’s VIS Division III state championship game.
- CB Kelvin Rainey and the Stratford Spartans (Houston, TX) defeated Willis in the Region III-4AA bi-district playoff. Stratford (7-4) trailed 14-6 after the first quarter before coming through with the game’s final two scores, both coming in the second quarter.
- Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA) lost to Cushing Academy, 31-6, and falls to 4-3 on the season. The Hilltoppers are led by Virginia-bound wide receiver Canaan Severin.
After a close first half, captain and strong safety Rodney McLeod and the rest of the Cavalier defense shut down the Maryland offense last Saturday, enabling Virginia to produce 17 unanswered points in the second half. In an impressive 12 minutes of play during the last two periods, McLeod picked off three Maryland passes, tying a Virginia record, and facilitating a decisive 31-13 Cavalier defeat of the Terrapins. McLeod also managed to register a team-high seven tackles throughout the game.
For his performance against Maryland, McLeod was named the ACC Defensive Back of the Week, as well as the College Football Performance Awards’ National Defensive Back of the Week. In response to his national recognition, McLeod was humble and mainly focused on the team’s next game in a teleconference with reporters.
“It is a great achievement. I’m just looking forward to this week against Duke. … I hope I have a game similar or better,” McLeod said.
It is quite fitting that McLeod’s three interceptions in one game were good enough to tie the school record with six other players, including Anthony Poindexter, who is McLeod’s position coach, and who accomplished the same feat during his career as a Cavalier. Poindexter acknowledges that McLeod’s success at Virginia is a result of his innate skills.
“He has had a great career here. It is always good when you can go to your hometown and have that kind of performance. I’m happy for him,” Poindexter said “He is a very intelligent player. [We] coach him to be in the right spot, but his natural ability takes over. … He understands defense.”
After the career that McLeod has had as a Cavalier, it is not surprising that he would have such a pivotal game during his senior season. Beginning his career as a true freshman in 2008, he was honored as Virginia’s most outstanding first-year player for his performance that season. As a sophomore, he started the 11 games he played and recorded 62 total tackles (3.0 Tackles For Loss), including a career-high 11 tackles against Miami. Then during his junior year, he started nine of the 10 games he appeared in and grabbed two interceptions and accumulated 54 tackles (2.5 TFL). Now as a senior, he has started all nine games this season and leads the team in interceptions with four; he is ranked fourth in total tackles with 42 (1.5 TFL).
The game this Saturday is likely to be a showdown between the Blue Devil pass offense, ranked sixth in the ACC, and the Cavalier defense. This means that McLeod and the rest of Virginia’s secondary will need to be ready to cover Duke’s diverse throwing game. McLeod expressed that the team is prepared and excited to play this weekend.
Former Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen produced a memorable outing in the sixth annual Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game on Saturday. Hultzen, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft, struck out all three batters in the first inning on 14 pitches and allowed 0 hits/1 walk in 2 innings of work. Here’s a full article and embedded video on the game from MLB.com.
You can also watch all three strikeouts from Hultzen’s performance in the following video from MLB.com:
The first offer went out to Damascus wide receiver/linebacker Zach Bradshaw, who also boasts offers from Boston College, Georgia Tech, Maryland, N.C. State, Rutgers, South Carolina and West Virginia. The Cavs signed former Swarming Hornets standout Brandon Phelps in the 2011 class.
The second was to Quince Orchard linebacker Marcus Newby, who had previously been offered by Central Florida, Maryland, Rutgers and Virginia Tech.
Anthony Poindexter serves as Virginia’s primary recruiter for both schools. Twelve players on UVa’s 2011 roster reside in the state of Maryland.