The news hit shortly after 1 p.m. on Sunday. Virginia head coach Mike London had fired four of his assistants.
Cue social media chaos.
Twitter exploded with questions, comments and bits of outrage. The Cavaliers were moving forward without defensive coordinator Jim Reid, defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Jeff Hanson, running backs coach Mike Faragalli and tight ends coach Shawn Moore.
For the current team, there was a sense of shock coupled with a dose of reality.
“Deep breath everyone,” tweeted rising junior tight end Jake McGee, “change can be good.”
For the incoming Wahoos, however, the rapid headlines weren’t as easy to take.
“What’s happening in Charlottesville?,” tweeted Jack English.
“Was not expecting those coaches to be fired,” tweeted Jack McDonald.
English, a three-star defensive end, and McDonald, a three-star offensive lineman, are part of UVa’s recruiting class of 2013. With two months remaining before National Signing Day, how many current Cav commitments will stay that way?
London and what’s left of his staff hit the road on Monday in an attempt to keep the Virginia pledges in midst of the coaching shake-up.
The strategy was mostly successful.
The one noted recruit to generate any rumors concerning a de-commitment was four-star cornerback Tim Harris*. Fork Union four-star safety Malcolm Cook told The Daily Progress he’s still committed to Virginia, but “is looking.”
Cook, a 6-foot-1, 200-pounder from Richmond, said Penn State has already pursued him about making a switch. Cook’s FUMA teammate is Christian Hackenberg, a five-star quarterback heading to PSU.
In fact, a member of the Nittany Lions’ staff was on Fork Union’s campus on Monday to talk to Cook just minutes after London visited with him.
“As soon as I got to the athletic center, I saw the (Penn State) quarterback coach down there,” Cook said. “Him and Christian were right there. Once I turned the corner, they were there waiting on me. I was like, ‘Wow.’”
Why the quick pounce?
Cook, like many UVa targets, shared a special relationship with Reid, a veteran recruiter of the Richmond area.
When word trickled out about Reid’s termination, Cook started to re-think his future.
“The main reason I’m at Fork Union is because of Coach Reid,” said Cook, who spent his first three high school years at Armstrong in Richmond. “All the things he did for me, I just felt like, ‘God, if he did all those things and he’s gone, why should I be there?’
“That’s how I felt at first.”
English shared a similar feeling.
“I had an on-going relationship with him since late fall or winter of my sophomore year,” said English, who attends St. Christopher’s in Richmond. “He and I, we talked a lot. He was actually down at my house the middle of last week — me, him and my parents.
“That was really what made it kind of a shock for me.”
Cook said during London’s Monday visit, the to-be fourth-year coach briefly touched on the decision to let Reid go.
It wasn’t easy. It seems it wasn’t all London’s call, either.
“He didn’t really go into details,” Cook said. “He just said, ‘When a program isn’t going a certain way, some people want changes. Some people at the top want changes, some people in the school system want changes.’ I guess that’s why he had to part ways with him.”
That end result is making things difficult for Cook, who said he’s also received phone calls from Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia Tech.
Cook said Fork Union post-graduate Virginia commitments Max Valles, a 6-4, 210-pound tight end, and Tyrell Chavis, a 6-3, 290-pound defensive tackle, are also in the “still committed, but looking” stage.
Reid’s impact went a long way.
“I was proud to say I was going to play under him,” Cook said. “They might bring in a bigger name, but the name really doesn’t matter. I just care about the character and how the person really is. Coach Reid was just that man. His character and his outgoingness just overwhelmed me. It was like Mike Tyson punching you. It was good.
“That’s why I love Coach Reid. He just overwhelms you.”
English, still staying strong on his Virginia commitment, is hoping for Reid-like attributes in the Wahoos’ next defensive coordinator.
“He was the one who brought energy to every situation,” English said. “I think that’ll probably be the one thing that’ll be hard to replace, but I’m sure they’ll do a good job in finding some new guys and we’re looking forward to it.”
*UPDATED STATUS FOR HARRIS: The rumors aren't true. According to Jamie Oakes of 247 Sports, Harris hasn't de-committed. At least not yet. Harris wants to meet the new UVa defensive coordinator, still yet to be hired, before making a decision.