As Friday the 29th is the first day of fall camp for the Virginia Cavaliers’ football team, head coach Tony Elliott provided updates on his team’s injury report with just over a month before the season opener. Specifically, Malachi Fields, Dakota Twitty, Ronnie Walker Jr., and Justin Duenkel are all recovering from various injuries and are set to miss the team’s fall.
Ronnie Walker — who transferred from Indiana before the 2021 season — suffered a lower body injury back in the spring that has kept him out of commission since. Yet, fortunately, according to Elliott and running backs coach Keith Gainer, Walker is on the right track to potentially make a return only part of the way through the season. Gainer noted that “Ronnie is ahead of schedule for his recovery from his injury,” with the chance to “get back with us late September.”
That is great news considering UVA’s desire to commit to the run and the fact that the running backs room is fairly inexperienced and needs all the help it can get.
Fields, a 6’4” sophomore receiver who flashed potential a number of times in 2021, broke a bone in his foot and underwent surgery and has an unknown timetable for returning to action. Last season, he caught 11 passes for 172 yards while competing in a stacked receiver room. His biggest game came on the road against Louisville when he caught three balls for 60 yards including a career long 51-yard reception.
If he is to miss the 2022 season that would be a shame considering he could’ve been set for a breakout sophomore campaign. Granted, UVA does have plenty of talent in the receiver room with Dontayvion Wicks, Keytaon Thompson, Billy Kemp IV, and Lavel Davis Jr. set to play ahead of Fields if and when he does return.
Joining Fields as an injured wideout is true freshman Dakota Twitty who suffered an ACL injury which — if it was a tear — would more than likely mean that he’ll miss his freshman season. Even if he was set to be sixth on the receiver depth chart, his absence will be a bummer considering he’s the highest ranked of Virginia’s 2022 class as a former four star commit and the 45th ranked receiver in the country per 247Sports.
Last but not least, backup kicker Justin Duenkel is still coming back from an offseason injury and will also miss the fall camp. Fortunately UVA also has highly rated 2022 kicker Will Bettridge who should have the chance to fight for the starting kicker spot in camp.
All in all, the team enters fall camp without too many serious injuries. Hopefully things stay that way as the ‘Hoos prepare for their season opener on September 3rd against Richmond.