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Analyzing the impact of Jay Woolfolk’s decision to focus on baseball

The decision leaves the door open for Monmouth transfer Tony Muskett to seize the starting quarterback job.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Virginia at Illinois Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Virginia Cavaliers duel-athlete Jay Woolfolk has announced his decision to step away from football to focus on his future in baseball. Woolfolk spent the 2022 football season as Brennan Armstrong’s backup and appeared in four games but with very limited chances to throw the ball. For the baseball team this spring he played an important role in the bullpen, pitching 34.0 innings with nine saves and a 2.91 ERA.

Woolfolk seemed to lose the trust of the baseball coaching staff late in the season, but he definitely does appear better set up for long term success as a pitcher than as a quarterback. In the spring he split time between playing for the baseball team and participating in spring football practices. This summer, Woolfolk played for the USA Baseball College National Team and impressed with five innings pitched and just one run earned.

In his statement on social media, Woolfolk said that “I’ve reached a point where at this time it’s best for me to focus on my future in the sport of baseball.” He still emphasized his appreciation for the football program and staff, saying that “Coach Elliott has done so much for me starting with his first day on Grounds. His ways of teaching how, not only to be a player, but how to be a man, will always stick with me.”

Woolfolk’s departure from the football program means that there is a lot more clarity for the quarterback position heading into the fall. Monmouth transfer Tony Muskett will be the penciled in starter as camp approaches with Anthony Colandrea — who impressed in the Spring Game — likely slated as the backup.

For the baseball program, getting Woolfolk to focus on baseball full time is a boon. The pitching staff will once again undergo meaningful changes. But if Woolfolk can establish himself as the team’s go-to, elite righty closer that would stabilize a bullpen that arguably cost the program a chance to win its second National Championship.