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Countdown to UVA football: #14 Andre Levrone

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Injuries in two straight seasons have hampered the junior WR, but he’s impressed in limited time. Can 2016 be the year he stays healthy and takes the next step forward?

NCAA Football: Virginia at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Position: WR
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 225
Year: Redshirt Junior
Hometown: Laurel, MD
Twitter: @AndreTheeeGiant

A revelation as a redshirt freshman, Andre Levrone started twice and had 15 catches for 248 yards and 2 TDs, on a team loaded with upperclassmen WRs including Darius Jennings, Canaan Severin and Miles Gooch. This was despite missing a game due to an “upper extremity” injury. So last year, with Jennings and Gooch gone, big things were expected from Levrone.

He played reasonably well in the Hoos’ opening week loss at UCLA, making two catches for 16 yards. But he did not play again all year due to another upper body injury. Now, entering this year, again big things are expected. And, again, Levrone is dealing with an injury suffered in one of the first fall practices.

Levrone is a big WR, and therefore has value to the Hoos right now. With 10 scholarship WRs on the roster, the Hoos are pretty deep at this position. But while nine of them are over 6 feet tall, only a few would really be called “big” receivers. David Eldridge, for example, is 6’1” but weighs just 175 pounds. At 6’3”, 225 pounds, Levrone is actually the biggest of receivers, and that includes converted TE Tanner Cowley (though 3 guys still listed at TE are bigger than Levrone).

Coming out of Good Counsel HS, Levrone was a consensus 3-star recruit and was rated as the #42 WR in the nation by Rivals. He played SS as well as WR, though he was recruited solely for offense. He likely does not have enough speed to play DB. Perhaps he could’ve played OLB, but he was 100% offense.

Here is the only recruiting video I could find on Levrone:

His straight line speed is just average, but he plays faster than his timed speed. He’s quick off the snap but lacks the burst needed to consistently get open. Though not the quickest of WRs, Levrone is very good at using his size to keep defenders off the ball.

One area where Levrone excels is blocking, especially as a wide receiver. With the team trying to spread the defense out horizontally in the new offense, one good outside block from a WR can spring a big play, making Levrone that much more valuable.

Despite having played just 12 games, Levrone is third among the wide receivers in career receptions. With Virginia’s deep bench, this is perhaps the one position that the Cavaliers can withstand an injury. But much of the remainder of the receiving corps is untested, and Levrone’s size sets him apart from the rest. He dealt with injuries in high school, and he’s now dealing with injuries for the third consecutive year at Virginia. When healthy, Levrone has the ability to be a big part of the Hoos’ offensive resurgence. It remains to be seen if he can stay healthy long enough to put it all together.