Virginia fans got some bad news on Monday afternoon as football head coach Bronco Mendenhall confirmed that electric wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr. has torn his ACL. Davis Jr., a second year, was looking to build off of a highly successful freshman campaign that saw him haul in 515 yards and five touchdown catches. His 25.8 yards per reception mark was best in the ACC and second in the nation.
“He’s a really good player we expected and knew that he was capable of even more than he did a year ago,” Mendenhall said in Monday’s Zoom press conference.
In his Virginia debut in the season-opener against Duke in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Davis Jr. went for 101 yards and two touchdown receptions.
He missed two games over the course of the season, but had high expectations entering the 2021 campaign. Davis Jr. was a two-time ACC Rookie of the Week last year, and his five touchdowns were behind just Tony Poljan’s six. At 6-7, Davis Jr. not only had the length to be a star receiver, he also was already performing well on route running and field vision.
It is likely a six-month minimum recovery time, but could take longer. Mendenhall stated that Davis Jr. could be back in November, a month where the Hoos play Notre Dame, Pitt, and Virginia Tech.
Virginia has some good depth at wide receiver as the Cavaliers return Billy Kemp IV (644 yards, one TD) and Ra’Shaun Henry (four touchdowns on seven receptions) and add TE transfer Jelani Woods from Oklahoma State. The Hoos also will have Dontayvion Wicks returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him last year and second year Nathaniel Beal III in the mix.
Keytaon Thompson is still officially listed as a QB, but expect to see him in multiple positions. Thompson finished with seven receptions last season and scored three touchdowns.
Davis Jr. wasn’t the only player with an ACL injury, as Mendenhall announced that Georgia Tech transfer defensive end Chico Bennett Jr. will also be out for an extended amount of time with a tear. Virginia will return Mandy Alonso at DE, but needed Bennett Jr.’s help this fall.
Mendenhall stated those have been the only two injuries so far this season.
Stay tuned to Streaking the Lawn for more updates.