Georgetown and Maryland got on the board yesterday as college basketball's early signing period commenced, but ultimately Virginia may have one of the country's best recruiting classes.

Several local high school seniors signed national letters-of-intent.

The Hoyas apparently landed one player -- 6-foot-7 swingman Kevin Millen of Raleigh-Egypt High School in Memphis -- but appeared to have lost another they coveted to Florida State. The Terrapins announced the signing of 6-8 forward Geno Soto from Teaneck (N.J.) High but had perhaps their most promising recruit placed on hold by the university's admissions policies.

The Cavaliers' only difficulties were administrative, as their recruits failed to receive their letters-of-intent yesterday. Otherwise they seemed to have fared well.

Jeff Jones is the youngest head basketball coach in Atlantic Coast Conference history, and most of Athletic Director Jim Copeland's reservations about appointing him to succeed Terry Holland last spring centered on his ability to recruit.

The Cavaliers had no signings to announce but were close to landing several impact players.

Those expected to commit to Virginia are 6-5 swingman Jason Williford of Richmond's John Marshall High and 6-8 center Chris Alexander from Long Branch (N.J.) High. But the centerpieces for the Cavaliers' prospective class are a pair of prep all-Americans from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.

Thomas Burrough, a 6-8 center who transferred to Oak Hill from a Charlotte, N.C., school, where he averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds a game as a junior, may sign with Virginia by Saturday. His teammate, point guard Cory Alexander, is a more uncertain proposition; he formerly was set to attend Georgia Tech but apparently has wavered and now is thought to be torn between the Cavaliers and Yellow Jackets.

But a rival ACC recruiter said yesterday: "As I understand it, Alexander to Virginia is pretty much a done deal. . . . That's going to give those guys one heck of a good class." Burrough and Cory Alexander are considered by most recruiting analysts to be among the nation's top 20 high school seniors.

In Millen the Hoyas are getting a guard-forward who is said to possess good passing and ballhandling skills for his size. Millen -- who averaged 20 points and nine rebounds per game as a junior -- became a hotly pursued player after some eye-opening showings at camps last summer. He chose Georgetown over Cincinnati, Mississippi, Ohio State and Memphis State.

"He fits into the {Hoyas'} system," said Jeff Walker, Millen's high school coach. "We play up tempo, so it won't be anything new to him to play pressure defense."

Millen reportedly was to sign his letter-of-intent yesterday, but it was not clear last night whether he had done so. Georgetown made no announcement, but Walker insisted that the signing was just a formality: "He's decided. He's going to Georgetown."

However, 6-6 forward Ray Donald of Washington High in Pensacola, Fla., chose Florida State over Georgetown and Georgia. "It was a tormenting decision for him," said Donald's high school coach, Steve Williams. "He stayed up nights and he was walking around in a daze. The three were so close.

"In the end, I think it came down to wanting to be close to home and wanting to play in the ACC when Florida State joins. But he really didn't know until the last minute."

The Hoyas also are reportedly courting two more prospects: Austin, Tex., guard Ray Jackson (thought to be deciding between Georgetown and Michigan) and Largo High center Don Reed. Reed is a 6-9, 250-pounder also sought by Duke, but his high school coach, Lou Wilson, said he believes Reed is "leaning . . . real hard" toward Georgetown.

Maryland's recruiting remains somewhat uncertain. Soto averaged 24.7 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocked shots as a junior but is not regarded as player whom you build around.

The player Maryland really wants is 6-7 forward Jamal Phillips of Grady High School in Brooklyn, but the Terrapins are awaiting his SAT scores. Maryland also is in the running for two area players, Dunbar's Johnny Rhodes and High Point's Wayne Bristol.

Among other local players, three Dunbar players signed: James Washington with St. Peter's, Damon Singletary with Northeastern and 5-4 point guard Romeo Roach with Delaware State.

Reed's Largo teammate, 6-3 guard Robert Holmes, signed with Morgan State, and 6-7 forward John Spann of Suitland committed to North Carolina-Wilmington.

Staff writers Anthony Cotton and Steve Berkowitz and special correspondent Andre Williams contributed to this report.