The much-anticipated 2019-20 Virginia Football campaign gets underway Saturday night with a trip to ACC Coastal foe Pittsburgh, and the Cavalier fans have a better idea which faces will be prominently featured in the opener. Bronco Mendenhall released the first depth chart of the season, giving us our first look at how the Hoos will line up.
There are a couple very expected players (hello, Bryces Perkins and Hall), but some players to note. Joe Reed and Hasise Dubois locked up two of the three starting wide receiver spots, with the third going to Terrell Jana or Terrell Chatman (a graduate transfer from Arizona State). In place of the departed Olamide Zaccheaus, Tavares Kelley or Billy Kemp IV have gotten the nod at H-back.
Wayne Taulapapa, PK Kier, and Lamont Atkins all got the ‘or’ treatment at speed back, with Jamari Peacock, Chris Sharp, and Mike Hollins getting the same at big back.
The defensive line has some incredible depth, but expect to see Richard Burney (or Aaron Faumui), Jowon Briggs, and Eli Hanback (or Mandy Alonso) on the field the first time out for the Hoos. Briggs, a 6-1, 295 first year, is the only first year expected to start. As expected, Charles Snowden and Jordan Mack will anchor the linebackers, with Zane Zandier, Robert Snyder, Noah Taylor, and Matt Gahm possible to fill out the other two spots.
With Darius Bratton out for the season, there’s a little change in the secondary, but Nick Grant, Brenton Nelson, Bryce Hall, and Joey Blount will lead the charge for the Hoos. On special teams, Brian Delaney earned the kicking spot, and could see some punting alongside Nash Griffin.
Seven true freshmen made the two-deep: guard Ja’Quay Hubbard, wide receiver Dorien Goddard, linebacker Nick Jackson, kicker Justin Duenkel, and long snapper Enzo Anthony, in addition to Hollins and Briggs.
Coach Mendenhall also spoke to the media, highlighting the work of his captains — Bryce Perkins, Bryce Hall, and Jordan Mack — in getting the team ready for the first game. Additionally, he praised the abilities of Kelly and Kemp IV in trying to fill Zaccheaus’s shoes and discussed the greater urgency involved in starting the season with a conference game.
Check out the full press conference here:
Virginia kicks off at Pitt on Saturday, August 31 at 7:30pm. The game will be broadcast on the new ACC Network channel.