Fork Union safety Malcolm Cook was a sleeper in recruiting circles when he committed to Virginia last summer.
After a strong senior season with the Blue Devils -- he made 96 tackles and intercepted nine passes, including four for touchdowns -- Cook's recruiting profile grew, just as the Cavaliers fired the man who attracted him to Charlottesville, defensive coordinator Jim Reid.
But after some indecision, Cook stayed true to his commitment, and on Wednesday he was won of 21 players to sign a National Letter of Intent with Virginia.
"It's been a wild experience. But now that's over. I'm where I want to be. I'm settled in right now," Cook said Wednesday morning at Fork Union.
"The thing that stood out to me was Coach London kept calling me, telling me he was committed to me," Cook explained. "And meeting (new defensive coordinator Jon) Tenuta, talking to him about the schemes they're putting in, the things they'll have me doing."
Cook was among the recruits whose commitments wavered while the Virginia staff was in flux this off-season. But at his Signing Day news conference on Wednesday, head coach Mike London talked about his staff's ability to keep the class together.
"Change is constant and change is something that we all experience. And they understood that," London said. "But they bought into what we are talking about, the vision that we have here. And they're a part of us now."
Including linebacker LaChaston Smith, who enrolled at Virginia last month, the Cavaliers' 2013 recruiting class includes 22 players from eight states. Both Rivals (No. 27) and 247Sports (No. 29) rate Virginia's among the top 30 classes in the country.
"It's truly a class that is filled with quality, depth and a lot of players that can be provided opportunities to play right away," London said. "I think it's a very talented class."
The most highly-regarded member of Virginia's class is Virginia Beach running back Taquan Mizzell, the Cavaliers' first five-star recruit since lineman Eugene Monroe in 2005. Mizzell finished his senior season at Bayside High School with 1,231 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns.
London said adding a player of Mizzell's reputation "helps a lot."
"Because when that young man comes and he has hopefully success here, then others who are looking can look at him and see that he came to Virginia," he explained. "So it's in everybody's best interest that young men like that come in - that they have a chance to contribute and contribute right away."
London also said the recruiting class succeeded in filling the team's greatest need -- offensive linemen. Virginia added five linemen, including two on Wednesday: Eric Tetlow backed out of a commitment to Wake Forest to sign with the Cavaliers, while George Adeoson picked Virginia over Oklahoma and Georgia.
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