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Virginia’s 2019 roster shows strength and development program paying off

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Fewer dramatic weight gains, more specific positions compared to 2018 preseason

Belk Bowl - South Carolina v Virginia Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

With the release of the Virginia Cavaliers depth chart heading into the season opener against Pitt, we wanted to revisit one of the big storylines from the leadup to the 2018 season: how many of UVA’s players have ACC caliber size?

As 2018 camp opened, we compared player weights from 2017 with the updated roster. Forty-four players added weight, including five offensive linemen adding at least 20 pounds. Thirteen players dropped weight.

The transformations are far less dramatic this year: only 30 players increased their weights, while 18 lost weight from 2018.

2019 Virginia football size changes

Name Position Height 2019 Weight 2018 Weight 2019 +/-
Name Position Height 2019 Weight 2018 Weight 2019 +/-
Myles Robinson CB 5-11 205 190 15
Jamari Peacock FB 5-11 245 230 15
Matt Gahm OLB 6-3 240 225 15
Olu Oluwatimi C 6-3 305 295 10
Samson Reed DL 6-2 275 265 10
T.C. Harrison ILB 6-2 225 215 10
Grant Misch TE 6-4 250 240 10
Ryan Swoboda OT 6-10 300 290 10
Joe Bissinger OG 6-4 305 295 10
Charles Snowden OLB 6-7 235 225 10
Noah Taylor OLB 6-5 215 205 10
A.J. Mejia PK 5-8 185 175 10
Lindell Stone QB 6-0 230 220 10
Brennan Armstrong QB 6-2 220 210 10
Wayne Taulapapa TB 5-9 210 200 10
Nick Grant CB 6-1 200 195 5
Aaron Faumui DL 6-1 285 280 5
Andrew Yavinsky FB 6-0 250 245 5
Brenton Nelson FS 5-11 185 180 5
Robert Snyder ILB 6-2 240 235 5
Bobby Haskins OT 6-7 285 280 5
Colin Dixon OLB 6-4 225 220 5
Chris Glaser OT 6-3 305 300 5
Ryan Nelson OT 6-4 315 310 5
Bryce Perkins QB 6-3 215 210 5
PK Kier TB 6-0 235 230 5
Chris Sharp TB 6-1 200 195 5
Tanner Cowley TE 6-4 240 235 5
Ugo Obasi WR 6-0 195 190 5
De'Vante Cross FS 6-2 210 205 5
Gerrik Vollmer C 6-3 290 290 0
Germane Crowell CB 6-0 200 200 0
Bryce Hall CB 6-1 200 200 0
Jaylon Baker CB 6-2 170 170 0
Joseph White DB 6-1 175 175 0
Eli Hanback DT 6-4 300 300 0
Joey Blount FS 6-1 190 190 0
Billy Kemp HB 5-9 175 175 0
Jordan Mack ILB 6-2 230 230 0
Reed Kellam ILB 6-1 225 225 0
Brian Delaney K 5-10 200 200 0
Derek Devine OT 6-6 295 295 0
Micah Mariteragi OG 6-2 265 265 0
Chris Moore FS 6-0 210 210 0
Dillon Reinkensmeyer OG 6-4 300 300 0
Hunter Pearson PK 6-2 210 210 0
Nash Griffin PK/P 6-2 225 225 0
Justin Zollar RB 5-7 170 170 0
Hayden Mitchell WR 5-11 190 190 0
Hasise Dubois WR 6-3 215 215 0
Terrell Jana WR 6-0 190 190 0
Joe Reed WR 6-1 215 215 0
Chuck Davis WR 5-9 170 170 0
Tavares Kelly WR 5-8 160 160 0
Heskin Smith DB 5-11 175 180 -5
Darrius Bratton DB 6-0 190 195 -5
Richard Burney DE 6-4 275 280 -5
Tommy Christ DL 6-5 280 285 -5
Zane Zandier LB 6-3 230 235 -5
Dre Bryant OLB 6-1 230 235 -5
Perris Jones RB 5-8 175 180 -5
Darnell Pratt WR 6-2 185 190 -5
Tyler Fannin C 6-3 295 305 -10
Mandy Alonso DE 6-2 280 290 -10
Isaac Buell DL 6-2 290 300 -10
Lamont Atkins TB 5-10 205 215 -10
Ben Hogg WR 5-10 170 180 -10
Martin Weisz OG 6-6 310 325 -15
Ben Trent OG 6-5 305 320 -15
Elliott Brown OLB 6-5 210 230 -20
Jordan Redmond DL 6-0 290 320 -30
Christian Baumgardner TE 6-5 245 290 -45

No player matched Isaac Buell’s eye-popping thirty-five pound gain from a season ago. Not even one offensive lineman hit the twenty-pound mark that five players saw before 2018. There are as many linebackers in the gains group (six) as offensive linemen.

But that’s about what one would expect from a program entering its fourth season under the same coaching staff. Recruits are coming in closer to their position group’s target sizes. The offensive linemen who signed as slightly undersized commits in 2017 are now juniors and redshirt sophomores—they SHOULD be pretty much at the weight they need to play Power Five football.

Jordan Redmond led all 2018 players with 30 pounds lost. That’s a bit surprising for a nose tackle, but it could reflect a defensive line philosophy that tilts more to one-gapping and penetration than relying on a planetoid behemoth in the middle occupying two blockers. Christian Baumgardner also lost a significant amount of weight from his last appearance on a UVA roster in 2017, which isn’t surprising given his transition from defensive line to tight end.

How about the new arrivals?

2019 Virginia football new player weight changes

Name Position Height 2019 Weight Previous Weight 2019 +/-
Name Position Height 2019 Weight Previous Weight 2019 +/-
Alex Gellerstedt OT 6-7 325 311 14
Josh Ahern ILB 6-3 225 215 10
Zachary Teter OG 6-5 300 290 10
Dontayvion Wicks WR 6-1 205 195 10
Nathaniel Beal III WR 6-4 210 200 10
Jowon Briggs DT 6-1 295 286 9
RJ Harvey QB 5-8 190 182 8
D'Sean Perry OLB 6-3 230 223 7
Ja'Quay Hubbard OT 6-5 335 330 5
Nick Jackson ILB 6-1 225 222 3
Chayce Chalmers DB 6-2 210 208 2
Tenyeh Dixon DB 5-11 185 185 0
Jairus Satiu OLB 6-2 200 200 0
Hunter Stewart OLB 6-2 220 220 0
Jonathan Leech OT 6-4 270 270 0
Jalen Harrison WR 6-3 210 210 0
Dorien Goddard WR 6-3 220 222 -2
Fentrell Cypress DB 5-11 170 173 -3
Major Williams DB 5-11 170 176 -6
Luke Wentz QB 6-3 200 207 -7
Antonio Clary DB 6-0 190 200 -10
Seneca Milledge RB 5-6 160 170 -10
Mike Hollins RB 5-9 200 214 -14
Kariem Al Soufi OG 6-3 335 350 -15
Ben Smiley DE 6-4 260 280 -20

Previous weights here are again pulled from signing day information; for baseball convert Jalen Harrison, from his UVA baseball profile.

Kariem Al Soufi dropping weight is probably a good thing, as a high schooler’s 350 pounds is not likely going to be good weight. Same for Ben Smiley: losing bad bulk to get to a more athletic defensive end is a good move for his development. All of the other changes appear to be mainly maintenance or little tweaks instead of major body overhauls.

One thing that stood out reviewing the roster: more guys are slotted to a specific position (e.g., offensive guard instead of just offensive line, inside or outside linebacker instead of just linebacker) than on the 2018 preseason roster. That speaks volumes about players coming in with the coaches envisioning them in a particular role, or developing into those roles over time. The depth—even beyond the two-deep—looks much healthier when players have been taking reps at their individual spot instead of just being generally talented but inexperienced.