"It is between UVa and Georgia as a preferred walk-on," said the long-snapper.
The St. Christopher's School standout has been hearing from both schools recently and has visited both. His first visit went to Georgia, where Essex was able to head to Sanford Stadium.
"It was good, I went down there for the home game against Kentucky. It was a fun game to watch for sure. Big atmosphere."
Then this winter, Essex made the short drive west on I-64 to Charlottesville. The 6-foot-4, 240 pounder was able to watch Virginia basketball host Notre Dame, but he also had the chance to learn more about the Cavaliers.
"It was a great visit," he said. "Got to see the facilities, got to see UVa put a whooping on Notre Dame. It was great. I got a great glimpse at what UVa would be like."
Coach Tom O'Brien is Essex's main recruiter, and the Richmond native says he has a good relationship with the UVa assistant head coach for offense.
"I am considering them. They are very high on my list of schools," he said about the Wahoos. "It just seems that everyone there is very dedicated to the program, and they are very quick and sharp on getting back to me. I had a great visit, I just liked what I saw. They just have a great football program."
St. Christopher's also has two notable alumnus on the football roster at Virginia: red-shirt freshman defensive end Jack Engligh and senior Alec Vozenilek.
"I've talked to Jack English, talked to him about how his first year was, what he went through and the daily schedule. He is very helpful explaining to me what the daily life is like. I really liked what I heard."
Now Essex is set to make his decision in the next week or two, eyeing his list and checking it twice.
"Their facilities, their weight room since I will be spending a lot of time there,also academics,that is very important," he explained. "As much as I liked to, I can't play football forever so I need a good degree so I can fall back on. And also level of interest and how invested they seem in me. How committed they seem to helping me be the best that I can be. And win some games."
Essex would be the second walk-on commitment for UVa. Virginia receiver a commitment from kicker Andrew King last week.