Virginia prioritizing D-linemen on recruiting trail

Although Virginia could stand to upgrade at multiple positions heading into the first season of the Bronco Mendenhall era in Charlottesville, one area in particular that the new UVa head coach and his staff are focusing on heavily is in the defensive trenches. So far in the 2017 class, the Cavaliers have offered scholarships to more than 20 defensive linemen.

Virginia is losing four-year contributor David Dean, who finished his UVa career fourth among defensive tackles in school history with 25.5 tackles for a loss.

Rising senior Andre Miles-Redmond, who made three starts and appeared in eight games last fall, will be competing with Donte Wilkins, another rising senior who played in all 12 games and made one start, for Dean’s starting job in spring workouts. Miles-Redmond and Wilkins will both likely split plenty of reps with Andrew Brown, who will be a junior in 2016.

With Miles-Redmond and Wilkins both graduating out after the 2016 season, it’s absolutely imperative that Virginia sign multiple interior defensive linemen next February. With the numbers the Cavaliers are going after right now, it’s entirely reasonable to see the Wahoos sign three defensive tackles, though two would seem to be a necessity.

At defensive end, UVa must replace both starters, Kwontie Moore and Trent Corney, before it takes on Richmond on Sept. 3 in Scott Stadium. Chris Peace, who played in all 12 games and made a start as a redshirt freshman last season, along with Darrious Carter — a fellow redshirt freshman who played in three contests — have the most experience among UVa’s returning defensive ends.

Naji Abdullah and Steven Wright, who both just redshirted, are some of the other young defensive ends who will be challenging for playing time in the coming weeks in Charlottesville.