The first set of numbers have been selected as 32 members of the Virginia football team earned their jerseys. Bronco Mendenhall has preached “earned not given” as one of his main mantras since taking over the Virginia program in 2016. Each season, players are selected week-by-week in fall camp to select their jersey numbers for the upcoming season.
We don’t yet know who picked first overall in this year’s draft, but 18 of the 32 jerseys selected belong to fourth or fifth year seniors. Eight third years and six second years round out the remainder of the players that heard their names called this time around.
Running back Jordan Ellis earned the first pick in the first three jersey drafts under Mendenhall, with walk-on linebacker Reed Kellam getting the first pick in 2019. Richard Burney got the nod in 2020.
Some notes around the jerseys selected so far:
- Offense/defense duplicates were selected for Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7, which is allowed as long as the players are on opposite sides of the ball
- No surprises for returning players like Nick Grant (No. 1), Dontayvion Wicks (No. 3), Billy Kemp IV (No. 4), Brennan Armstrong (No. 5), Nick Jackson (No. 6), Noah Taylor (No. 7), Wayne Taulapapa (No. 21), Joey Blount (No. 29), Ryan Nelson (No. 54), Olu Oluwatimi (No. 55), Chris Glaser (No. 69), and Aaron Faumui (No. 91) as they are among the group that kept their same jersey numbers
- Transfer tight end Jelani Woods (Oklahoma State) must have really impressed, getting into the first group and selecting No. 0 (which belonged to Zane Zandier last season)
- Fellow transfer Anthony Johnson (Louisville) also got to pick his jersey in this first group, taking No. 3
- Lavel Davis Jr. kept No. 81, and it’s impressive he was able to select already considering he is coming back from a spring knee injury
- QB/WR Keytaon Thompson kept No. 99, which is awesome
- Ra’Shaun Henry swapped from No. 17 last year to No. 2, and De’Vante Cross also grabbed No. 2, switching from No. 15
- Senior linebacker Elliott Brown jumped from No. 43 to No. 4
- Six offensive linemen selected their jerseys, which is unsurprising for a group that returns a lot of experience and leadership
Here are the jerseys awarded in the first group:
2021 Virginia Football Jersey Numbers
|4||Billy Kemp IV||WR||Senior|
|23||Fentrell Cypress II||DB||Sophomore|
|81||Lavel Davis Jr.||WR||Sophomore|