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Tony Elliott adds to UVA football’s depth with four more transfers

The four additions bolster Virginia’s depth for the coming season

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Virginia vs Tennessee Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As we progress into the second transfer portal cycle, Tony Elliott continues to build the Virginia Cavaliers roster through experience. According to On3’s Team Transfer Portal Index, which measures teams by their net roster talent between their transfer losses and additions, UVA ranks 23rd nationally.

After fourteen departures via the portal this offseason, the ‘Hoos have now added eleven to their own roster. Here is a deeper look at the recent acquisitions:

Gavin Frakes

Last season, Virginia’s quarterback depth after Tony Muskett and Anthony Colandrea became problematic following the Jay Woolfolk’s decision to focus on baseball. Elliott added a third scholarship quarterback this offseason with the commitment of the New Mexico State transfer.

Think of Frakes as a long-term project and a current emergency fallback option. His numbers in five starts for the Aggies are underwhelming, albeit he was thrown into the fire as a true freshman. Keep in mind that the competition jump from the Group of Five to the ACC certainly a significant jump as well.

I would not bank on Frakes becoming a full-time starter for Virginia down the line but his tools do leave some intrigue. The 6’4” 220-pound Oklahoma-native has plus athleticism and could make throws to the far side of the field. Give him his three years of eligibility under Taylor Lamb and let’s see how he develops.

Jermarian Jackson

Elliott went to the FCS ranks to grab Jackson, a cornerback by the way of Robert Morris, where he earned Big South-OVC Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year honors. This is another move that adds depth to a position group of particular need. Jackson does not have too much public game film at the college level but his resume certainly indicates some potential. With three years of eligibility remaining, Jackson could become a significant contributor down the line.

Sage Ennis

The program added a second tight end last weekend, this time flipping a Clemson transfer from Florida A&M to UVA. Under Des Kitchings, UVA has utilized plenty of 12 personnel so the presence of another veteran in the room is key.

Compared to Ennis, expect Harvard-transfer Tyler Neville to be more of a vertical receiving threat. However, Ennis’ ability as a blocker in space is evident throughout his Clemson film. This makes him a good fit for Kitchings’ perimeter run heavy offense in particular. At this point, the focus is on getting Ennis healthy enough to contribute in his final year of eligibility, following an ACL tear in November.

Kempton Shine

Of the four acquisitions discussed in this feature, Shine is the one that will likely make the most significant immediate impact. His resume consists of 41 starts at cornerback for Eastern Michigan and All-MAC honors in 2023.

In one final year at Virginia, Shine has the opportunity to bolster his NFL Draft profile against higher level competition. He will not necessarily be the ballhawking defensive back with a big highlight reel, something that UVA’s defense lacked in 2023. What Shine does provide, though, is rock solid coverage technique and sure tackling, which is what will make him extremely playable in John Rudzinski’s defense.