This native Floridian felt comfortable enough thanks to another on his recent recruiting visit to Virginia.
On the heels of that trip, Clay High School (Green Cove Springs, Fla.) cornerback Jarvis Lee announced Sunday his commitment to the Cavaliers.
Lee said one of the highlights of his stay in Charlottesville was the conversation he had with UVa senior cornerback Anthony Johnson, who also hails from the Sunshine State and joined the Hoos as a transfer from Louisville ahead of last season.
“He said as soon as he came that he felt welcome like family,” Lee said, “and that they’ve developed him into the player he is today. So, all really good things.”
The 5-foot-11, 174-pound corner said he decided on UVa over runner-up Memphis. Lee earned offers from 15 other schools, including Iowa State, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Washington State.
But the visit he took to UVa and the relationships he formed with members of the coaching staff, he said, separated the Cavaliers.
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His lead recruiter was defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Curome Cox, and Lee said he appreciated that coach Tony Elliott got to know him also.
“I sat down and talked with [Elliott],” Lee said, “about everything he wanted to change in the program since he came to Virginia from Clemson. He wants to change the culture, the game plan and so, I see his vision and I understand what he’s trying to do.”
Lee said he and Cox connected on a personal level and that Lee liked that his future position coach was the one recruiting him. Cox is in his first year at UVa after following new defensive coordinator John Rudzinski from Air Force to be part of Elliott’s initial staff.
“I really liked his [Cox’s] story and it was something I could relate to,” Lee said, “so it was one of those things where it seemed like it was the best fit for me because I can play for people I can relate to.
“And I knew in the moment [on the visit] that it felt right with the new coaching staff and new things going on, so it felt like it’d be good for me and a good fit for me.”
He said UVa sees him slotting in as a traditional cornerback when he arrives as an early enrollee.
Last season as a junior at Clay, Lee logged 22 tackles to go along with three interceptions and seven pass deflections.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Lee said of his style of play. “I’m very physical and I talk a lot on the field, so I’m an all-around player and I want to dominate, and I just know I want to be the best player on the field at all times.”
Lee is one of three pledges the Cavaliers have added to their 2023 recruiting class since May 29, when Massaponax (Fredericksburg) running back Donte Hawthorne announced his commitment. On Monday, Highland Springs defensive lineman Miles Greene did the same. In April, Patriot (Nokesville) offensive lineman Cole Surber became the first commitment in the class.
“[Elliott is] building it and going day by day,” Lee said of the class, “but it’s going to be great.”