The Virginia football program announced this evening that nine fourth and fifth year players have decided to use their extra year of eligibility to return to the team next season. The group of players includes: DE Mandy Alonso, DE Adeeb Atariwa, FS Joey Blount, OLB Elliott Brown, CB De’Vante Cross, OG Chris Glaser, CB Nick Grant, WR Ra’Shaun Henry and OT Ryan Nelson. According to the release all nine of the players have already completed their undergraduate degrees.
Let the celebratory tweets commence!
Welcome Back @mandy_alonso55— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) December 22, 2020
Alonso appeared in all 10 games of 2020 with nine starts. He made 26 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. He graduated this month with a degree in government. #GoHoos | #THEStandard pic.twitter.com/3ZhUYu7lqt
While we certainly wish the best for the Hoos moving on to professional football or other endeavors, these returning players are hugely important for next year’s team. Alonso and Atariwa in particular bring critical experience back to a position that suffered a ton from lack of depth in this COVID season - and Joey Blount returning should be exciting Wahoo fans everywhere! According to our friend Bennett Conlin, Blount cited his injury as part of his motivation to spend next year in Cville:
Quote of the Night:— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) December 22, 2020
"Due to my injury, I felt like I had more to give to this team and my brothers. Also, I think that we have an opportunity to be one of the best teams in ACC if we stay consistent and healthy.” - UVa safety Joey Blount
Hopefully next year looks more like real life for NCAA football and all of us fans - certainly this returning talent on both sides of the ball will help make the season a great one.