One of the biggest surprises for the Virginia Cavaliers football program in 2017 was the contributions they got from players who came to the program without scholarships.
Safety Brenton Nelson won ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year on the strength of four picks and 58 tackles (including two tackles for loss). Lester Coleman went from making his collegiate debut in 2017 to making the 2017 All-ACC second team. Wide receiver Ben Hogg put in his dues for two years on the scout team, then cracked the starting lineup twice in 2017 before his season ended early due to injury.
Now several new walk-ons will have a chance to prove their mettle in the class of 2018.
One has family history that invokes the echoes of UVA’s glory days.
Waynesboro HS quarterback DaJuan Moore signs as a preferred walk-on with @UVAFootball He is the cousin of former #UVA quarterback Shawn Moore. pic.twitter.com/1icILHvEIh— NBC29 (@NBC29) February 7, 2018
An option quarterback for the Little Giants of Waynesboro, DaJuan Moore should play a big role in getting UVA ready for opponents like Georgia Tech. And I’m sure his big cousin will be happy to give him pointers on fitting in around Grounds.
The special teams group added a long snapper that Lindell Stone should be familiar with from their time together at Woodberry Forest.
Woodberry Forest long snapper Lee Dudley @_LD82 will join @UVAFootball as a preferred walk-on. Hear from the Richmond native on NBC29 news at six. @WoodberryForest pic.twitter.com/yxbhGl1NNH— NBC29 (@NBC29) February 7, 2018
Dudley will get to work with new special teams coordinator Ricky Brumfield. He’ll compete for playing time with fellow walk-on Daniel Moore out of Edgewater, Maryland, who announced his commitment to UVA in late January.
I am committed to @UVa_Football. Thanks to God, my parents @pinga4445 @Coach2J @RickyBrumfield @UVAFBRecruiting @UVACoachBronco @SpecialTeamsU @SRiverAthletics @CoachDolch21 @BTC_1988 and all who believed in me. I will not let you down. From elementary school the climb continues. pic.twitter.com/N3CfWyQhnJ— DanielMooreFootball (@DanMooreFtball) January 23, 2018
Both sides of the line added preferred walk-ons as well. Gonzaga offensive lineman Jack Keenan committed to UVA over FCS offers including Butler and Seton Hall.
Wahoowa ! ⚔️ #Committed #GoHoos pic.twitter.com/30A4LTdwPr— Jack Keenan (@jack22keenan) February 6, 2018
With the strength of the DC prep schools and Virginia’s desire to cement its footprint in the DMV, adding Keenan could quietly be a strong pick-up for the Hoos.
On the other side of the ball, Trevor Storm from Easton, Pennsylvania, will join the #Silverback group in the fall.
Officially a Cavalier! Fired up to become part of the family⚔️ #NewStandard18 pic.twitter.com/Xp0Rp9Rr0P— Trevor Storm (@TDStorm10) February 7, 2018
At 6’7 but just 215 pounds, Storm is the type of lanky edge rusher that has thrived under the tutelage of Mendenhall and Nick Howell. He obviously will need to bulk up to have any hopes of cracking the two-deep, but an offer sheet that included Army, Brown, and Harvard says there’s talent to be developed there.
None of these five will be the headline grabbers on this signing day. But any of them could very well be the next to go from zero to hero at Virginia.