Does Rutgers have a shot with Alvarez?

Defensive back Pablo Alvarez of Belen Jesuit High of Miami committed to Virginia long before Al Groh was fired as head coach. Since, the, several schools contacted Alvarez, and Rutgers visited with him. Also, new Virginia coach Mike London has been on the phone with Alvarez. So, where do things stand with the talented player? Alvarez gave an update on what is going on with his recruitment.

Among the few players Rutgers visited during the days leading up to the St. Petersburg Bowl was Belen Jesuit High of Miami defensive back Pablo Alvarez.

Alvarez, who is committed to Virginia, heard from numerous schools since Cavaliers coach Al Groh was fired, but the Scarlet Knights showed the most enthusiasm and were the most aggressive.

"Rutgers has been down to see me a few times,'' the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Alvarez said. "I talked to the Northwestern coach a few times. Rutgers is probably the most active. I spoke to the Wisconsin coach, also. That's about it.''

Alvarez said former Rutgers receivers coach Brian Jenkins, who accepted the head coaching position at Bethune-Cookman last week, was in to recruit him prior to Dec. 19 bowl game.

However, said he is content with his commitment to Virginia.

"I'm still committed to Virginia,'' Alvarez said. "I'm set on Virginia.''

Alvarez said he spoke to new Virginia coach Mike London several times, and came away impressed.

"He's a good guy, a family guy,'' Alvarez said. "He coached at Richmond and had success there. He won a national championship there for their division (football championship subdivision), so I know that he's a good coach.

"He's bringing change to the program, and that's what the program needs right now, so I'm optimistic about him and next year's season.''

Virginia's coaching change created stress and complications in recruiting for Alvarez, and he spent a considerable amount of time thinking about it.

"At the end of the day I never ended up playing for coach Groh,'' Alvarez said. "I met him, and he was the one who made the offer and I spoke to him. I had a relationship with him, but the relationship was only so extensive. I didn't play for him, so I didn't think it was a big deal.''

The bigger influence on Alvarez maintaining committed to Virginia was the retention his recruiting coach, Anthony Poindexter.

"Unless I didn't fit this new coach's program at all, and saw nowhere for me, I would go there,'' Alvarez said. "I am not that sentimental to (coach Groh) being there. It's a good school. I talked to the athletic director (Craig Littlepage), and he told me they were going to honor my scholarship, and I was looking for a good academic schools to begin with.

"It was always the school I wanted to go to.''

Alvarez does not have an official visit to Virginia planned, and he said he wasn't going to add one because of a cluttered schedule.

Belen Jesuit lost to Pensacola (Fla.) 28-7 in the Class 3A title game two weeks ago, and now he is playing basketball. He also is a member of the track team.

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