Virginia needs defensive line help heading into the 2018 season. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall addressed this issue once again following Saturday’s final spring practice, when he revealed that defensive lineman James Trucilla would no longer play football because of a medical condition.
UVA received much welcomed news on the defensive line front Monday (April 30), announcing the addition of Dylan Thompson as a graduate transfer. Thompson attends Ohio State and will graduate from there this summer before arriving on Grounds this summer. He’ll have one season of eligibility remaining and, as a grad-transfer, will be able to play right away.
Thompson verbally committed to transfer to Virginia on February 24. He recently gained admission to UVA.
— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) April 30, 2018
“Welcome to UVA Dylan,” Mendnehall tweeted. “We are excited to have you as part of our family.”
Thompson arrived at Ohio State in 2014 as an ESPN 4-star defensive tackle and Rivals, 247Sports, and Scout.com 3-star defensive end. He redshirted his true freshman season because of a knee injury and would not play his redshirt freshman campaign while still recovering from the injury. After missing the 2016 season because of academics, Thompson returned to the Buckeyes as a non-scholarship player in 2017. He had three tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss, in two games as a redshirt junior for the 2017 Big 10 champion Buckeyes.
Virginia needs Thompson to assume a significant role next season. The Cavaliers return junior nose tackle Eli Hanback, a 24-game starter in his two previous seasons, as well as sophomore Mandy Alonso, who started four games last season as a true freshman. That’s it, though, as far as returning players with starting experience.
Rising redshirt junior Richard Burney switched from tight end to defensive end before the 2017 Military Bowl. He appears to be on defense to stay and has shown some good signs, including an impressive tackle-for-loss in the final spring practice. Sophomore defensive end John Kirven played in 10 of 13 games last season as a true freshman; however, the promising underclassman missed spring football because of concussions.
The rest of Virginia’s projected 2018 season defensive line depth chart includes Tommy Christ and Isaac Buell, neither of whom played last season, and incoming freshmen Aaron Faumui, Samson Reed, and Jordan Redmond.