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Virginia Football 2016 Roster: 61 players “earn” their numbers

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Tim Harris is still No. 5
Tim Harris is still No. 5
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s emphasizes bringing accountability to the Virginia football program, speaking often about players’ roles are "earned, not given." Under his policies, the team hasn’t been able to take things for granted anymore; that includes basic parts of their uniforms, like the v-sabre logo (earned a month ago) and their numbers, which were missing until today. (The team was VERY fortunate to earn their numbers just in time for the first game of the year. A forfeit would have been embarrassing.)

Sixty-one members of the roster have been assigned numbers, all of which are available to view over at VirginiaSports.com. Numbers aren’t all that interesting (to me at least), but Coach Mendenhall’s novel treatment of them gives us something to pry into. Here are a few takeaways:

  1. Not everyone has a number yet.

Sixty-one players may now have a number listed next to their name on the team roster...but that also means that 41 players still don’t have one. The majority of this group is true freshman, none of whom received a number in the initial batch. Just three of the 41 players awaiting numbers are juniors or seniors (two of whom are walk-ons). Obviously, guys will all have numbers before the week is up, assuming they’ll be eligible to play against Richmond, and UVA Athletics’s Twitter account noted that:

2. There are tons of changes.

Coach Mendenhall and the team apparently did not take into account the integrity of Streaking the Lawn’s "Countdown to Kickoff" series, where we’ve been profiling each player by number for the past 3 months. For example, of the nine returning players who wore numbers of seven or less, six have now swapped. Be alert when you’re watching the game against Richmond, or conversations like this - "Hey, why is #22 Jahvoni Simmons lined up behind Benkert?! Oh, wait, that’s Daniel Hamm!" - will be common.

3. And there are some nontraditional ones too.

The team was quick to nab the single digits, and they weren’t confined to the traditional QBs, RBs, and kickers. (Though NFL defenders must always be above 20, and higher depending on position, there are no NCAA rules on numbers for defensive players). Two likely defensive line starters picked 1 (Donte Wilkins) and 9 (Andrew Brown), and two linebackers are between 10 and 19. On the other end of the spectrum, the nineties include kicker Dylan Sims (91) and QB Joe Spaziani (99). Not everything’s too strange though - starting quarterback Kurt Benkert will wear number 6.

Here’s the full list of numbers earned so far:

1 Donte Wilkins
2 Albert Reid
3 Quin Blanding
4 Taquan Mizzell
5 Tim Harris
6 Kurt Benkert
7 Doni Dowling
8 Keeon Johnson
9 Andrew Brown
10 Jordan Ellis
11 David Eldridge
13 Chris Peace
14 Myles Robinson
15 Matt Johns
16 Connor Brewer
17 Malcolm Cook
18 Ben Hogg
19 Andre Levrone
20 Steven Wright
21 Juan Thornhill
22 Daniel Hamm
23 Warren Craft
25 Chris Sharp
26 Anthony Calloway
27 Cory Jones
28 Wilfred Wahee
29 Eric Gallon
30 Nicholas Conte
31 Kareem Gibson
32 Kirk Garner
33 Olamide Zaccheaus
36 Gladimir Paul
38 Kelvin Rainey
39 Darious Latimore
40 C.J. Stalker
41 Connor Wingo-Reeves
42 Jahvoni Simmons
44 Tanner Cowley
45 Evan Butts
50 Jackson Matteo
51 Zach Bradshaw
53 Micah Kiser
57 James Trucilla
58 Eli Hanback
59 Mark Hall
62 Sean Karl
67 Jack English
70 Steven Moss
71 Jack McDonald
72 Eric Smith
74 Ryan Bischoff
76 Michael Mooney
77 Jake Fieler
78 R.J. Proctor
82 Braedon Urie
83 Brendan Marshall
87 Richard Burney
88 Ryan Santoro
90 Jack Powers
91 Dylan Sims
99 Joe Spaziani