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It would have been easy to dismiss or overlook the Learfield Directors' Cup rankings this year, coming, as they did, following a school year when there was no assurance that many sports would even be conducted.
Virginia and Virginia Tech finished 11th and 32nd respectively among Division I programs in competition for the 2020-2021 Learfield Directors' Cup rankings that reflect athletic success.
There was no Directors' Cup competition in 2019-2020 due to the coronavirus. Prior to that, Virginia was eighth at the end of the 2018-2019 season and the Hokies were 49th.
Texas won the 2020-21 Directors' Cup title, marking only the second time an institution other than Stanford has taken the title.
The ACC had six teams in the top 25, compared to the Southeastern Conference with eight.
North Carolina was ranked fourth and led the ACC schools, followed (in order) by UVa, Notre Dame, Florida State Duke and N.C. State in the top 25.
One explanation for Virginia's drop was the inactivity this year of sports such as women's basketball, which played only five games, all before Christmas, after playing 30 games the previous year.
New ACC commissioner Jim Phillips says that Virginia and Virginia Tech are among the seven ACC schools that require students to be vaccinated in order to return to campus. That doesn't include N.C. State, which was headed to the College World Series before eight of its players tested positive for the coronavirus.
ACC AND THE MLB DRAFT
The word on Tucker McLaughlin. the longtime southern Virginia sportswriter who travelled to Duke to undergo chemotherapy, is that he has returned to South Boston and is taking phone calls.
It came at a good time in Halifax County, home to recent UVa graduate Andrew Abbott, a first-team All-ACC pitcher who was selected on the second round of the MLB Draft and signed with the Cincinnati Reds for $1.3 million.
The top prospect nationally, Lewisberry, Pa., outfielder Benny Montgomery, signed with Colorado after being selected with the No. 8 pick in the first round.
Montgomery, the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year, had signed with Virginia during the fall but appears headed to pro ball. Virginia earlier had lost another top recruit, Pennsylvania pitcher Nick Bitsko, who was selected by Tampa in the first round of the 2020 draft.
Perfect Game has five ACC classes in the top 15, led by Florida State in seventh place and Louisville in eight. Next are Clemson at No. 10 and Virginia at 14th. Nine ACC teams are in the top 25 on that list and Tech is 26th.
ANOTHER TITLE FOR DIAKITE
Mamadi Diakite, one of the stars of Virginia's men's basketball championship in 2019, played in 14 games this year for the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. Diakite, who had gone undrafted coming out of college, went on to sign a multi-year deal in April. Diakite is possibly the only player to ever win a high school, NCAA, G-League and NBA Championship.
ACC RECRUITING UPDATE
Following a commitment from Poca, W.Va. wing Isaac McKneely for the entering class of 2022-2023, Virginia is making a pitch for 6-9 power forward Isaac Traudt from Grand Island, Nebraska. Traudt and McKneely are rated No. 67 and 70 in their class, respectively, by rivals.com.
Competition for Traudt includes North Carolina, Nebraska and Michigan State, according to 247 Sports.
Virginia and Virginia Tech both have made offers to 6-6, 240-pound Brice Sensabaugh, a rising junior from Orlando, Fla., who also is being recruited by Georgia Tech, Clemson and Miami, as well as a host of Southeastern Conference programs, according to 247 Sports.
Boston College has taken a commitment from Gilbert Tongrongou, A 6-4, 250-pound from Forest Park High School in Woodbridge. Among the nine schools to offer him, according to rivals.com, were Duke. Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia.
BC's 2022 class is rated 32ndth by rivals.com, one spot behind Virginia. Virginia Tech is 44th.
Florida State, ranked 30th and one spot ahead of Virginia, has a commitment from the No.2 player on the rivals list, Travis Hunter, a cornerback from Sewanee, Ga., who has been compared to ex-Seminoles phenom Deion Sanders.