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Virginia linebacker Charles Snowden out for the remainder of the season

This is officially the worst.

NCAA Football: Abilene Christian at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We knew it was coming, but didn’t want to accept it: Charles Snowden is out for the rest of the season after breaking his ankle in the first quarter against Abilene Christian. Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall had high praise for Snowden in Monday’s press conference, while noting what a loss it will be for the team. “Charles’s impact on our program has been breathtaking,” Mendenhall said of his captain. “It’s hard to separate Charles Snowden and UVA Football.”

This loss hurts for several reasons. On the field, Snowden is a force. He leads Virginia with six sacks on the season and is third in the ACC behind Duke’s duo of Victor Dimukeje and Chris Rumph. Snowden is fourth on the Cavaliers in total tackles with 44 and has four quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, and one forced fumble on the season.

Even with that impressive performance on the field, it’s arguably a bigger loss for the intangibles Snowden brings. He is one of the team captains, a vocal leader, and someone that is dedicated to making his community a better place. Snowden is one of the 11 players from Virginia Football that established The Groundskeepers, a group determined to enact change within Charlottesville (and beyond).

Coach Mendenhall said that Snowden has already had the surgery on his ankle, and that Snowden’s mother is in Charlottesville to help take care of him.

There’s an outside shot that Snowden could return to the Cavaliers for one more season as all players have been granted an extra year of eligibility as a result of the pandemic. Whether or not he will is yet to be seen, and Mendenhall said those conversations won’t be had until the season is over. “I’m thankful for all that he’s [Snowden] contributed to this point, and I don’t think you can give more,” Mendenhall stated. “I’m grateful.”

There have been a lot of injuries for Virginia’s defense this season beyond just Snowden. Joey Blount and Brenton Nelson have missed several games in the secondary with injuries. Starting DE Richard Burney is out for the season, and the team was shocked when Jowon Briggs entered the transfer portal before the Abilene Christian game. Against the Wildcats, Nick Grant, D’Angelo Amos, and Nusi Malani all exited the game with injuries, with just Grant re-entering.

Going forward, Matt Gahm and Elliott Brown will be huge in Snowden’s absence. Mendenhall emphasized how it’s impossible to “replace” Snowden, but that he feels that both are ready to step up.

Virginia travels to Florida State for a Saturday night game at 8pm on the ACC Network.