Outside linebacker Javar Garrett is the highest-ranked recruit committed to the University of Virginia. Like everyone else around the world, he watched the tragic events over the weekend in Charlottesville.
In the aftermath, he heard from the Cavaliers coaches who passed along “all of the information on the incident that they have received,” he told USA TODAY High School Sports.
“We are all confident as a football program and school that the series of events were not due to the students and locals of the college town and the campus is very safe,” said Garrett, a three-star prospect from The Peddie School in New Jersey.
The Twitter feed of the Virginia football program posted a team photo on campus with the words, “Our school, our city, our home. United Forever. #HoosTogether.” Coach Bronco Mendenhall said the photo was the players’ idea.
“Our message is one of consistency, unity and embracing diversity and being together and respecting one another for those differences, not separating because of those differences,” he said.
Garrett said he doesn’t think the incident will impact the attractiveness of Virginia to potential students.
“Everyone that has been to Charlottesville knows what the school and community is all about,” he said. “They were outsiders. This situation can also happen in many places, I am sure we will be seeing more of these ugly protest in other places as time goes on.”
Martin Weisz, a three-star offensive tackle commit from Florida, also said he heard from the Virginia coaches and is confident in the program, school and community.
“The events that happened this past weekend in Charlottesville are very troubling,” Weisz said. “The damage and destruction that was done was brutal and should not have happened. But, being a commit to The University of Virginia, I am not just committed to the football team. I am committed to the university, the staff, and the city of Charlottesville. I talked to my coaches and they said that the players and them are sticking together and no events like this can impact the family they have up there.
“Charlottesville is an amazing city, filled with historic facts and excellent traditions. I do not believe this will impact recruiting or attendance to UVA because I believe that the school and the city are so great, they will beat all of this hate.”
Lee Dudley, a long snapper from Woodberry Forest (Va.), announced his commitment to Virginia on Friday. He said in the aftermath of the events in Charlottesville, the commits have “grown more connected as a group.”
“My commitment to the coaches, team, and the University of Virginia is absolutely firm,” he said. “From what I understand, this is the same for other 2018 commits. We know what the real Charlottesville is like, and the University of Virginia is a great place to be.”