Virginia Football Notes: Which True Freshmen Maintained Redshirt Status In 2018?

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A new NCAA rule allowing Division 1 football players the chance to play up to four games in one season and still preserve redshirt status for that season took effect in 2018. This new rule can impact any player who previously has not redshirted.

We know head coach Bronco Mendenhall does not automatically reward fifth years to players, so those who do qualify for a redshirt still may not be in Charlottesville as fifth-year seniors. This is basically the case with any program, but Mendenhall has made it a point to emphasize that players must earn a fifth year. Still, let’s examine Virginia’s true freshman class in terms of who did not qualify for a redshirt and who did.

Below is the post 2018 season breakdown, beginning with those true freshmen who played more than four games and therefore did not redshirt.

Played More Than Four Games (No Redshirt)

– Offensive tackle Bobby Haskins (13 games played)

– Wide receiver Tavares Kelly (13 games played; 10 receptions for 121 yards; six carries for 21 yards; 13 punt returns for 143 yards; three kick returns for 50 yards)

– Defensive lineman Aaron Faumui (12 games played with seven tackles, four quarterback hurries, one sack, one tackle-for-loss, and one forced fumble)

– Linebacker/safety Noah Taylor (10 games played, including outside linebacker in the Belk Bowl)

– Wide receiver Ugo Obasi (10 games played)

– Nose tackle Jordan Redmond (8 games played; 10 tackles, including two tackles for loss)

– H-Back Billy Kemp (8 games played; no stats until the Belk Bowl, when he had three punt returns for 31 yards)

– Running back Wayne Taulapapa (8 games played, all on special teams; Had one tackle.)

Played Four Games Or Less, Preserving Redshirt

– Quarterback Brennan Armstrong (4 games played; 2-of-5 passing for 62 yards and a touchdown; nine rushes for 74 yards)

– Walk-on running back Perris Jones (4 games played, all on special teams)

– Defensive back Joseph White (3 games played)

– Placekicker Hunter Pearson (2 games played; 2-2 field goals and 6-6 extra points)

– Defensive end/outside linebacker Grant Misch (1 game played; 1 tackle)

– Walk-on defensive back Coen King (1 game played)

Redshirted, Did Not Play

– Offensive linemen Joe Bissinger, Derek Devine, Micah Mariteragi, and Martin Weisz

– Defensive lineman Samson Reed

– Linebackers Javon Garrett and T.C. Harrison

– Cornerback Jaylon Baker

No Longer On The Roster

– Wide receiver Wooby Theork-Youmans is currently not listed on the roster.

The most notable player for me is quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who has a very promising future based on his appearances in 2018. For him to gain some experience yet keep his redshirt is significant for UVA’s succession plan at quarterback. Also, if he is needed for any extensive action next season (fingers crossed he won’t with Bryce Perkins returning), the experience he gained this year should be a benefit in that regard as well.

TRANSFERS

Virginia football is up to four transfers with redshirt junior offensive lineman R.J. Proctor and redshirt junior inside linebacker Dominic Sheppard announcing that they are leaving Charlottesville. Both will leave UVA with degrees in hand.

Sheppard, who had moved into starting consideration in the preseason, suffered a season-ending knee injury just before the regular season began. A tough blow for the Miami (FL) native, who had worked hard to come back from another knee injury suffered earlier in his career. With regulars Jordan Mack, Zane Zandier and Rob Snyder expected back next season, as well as some promising young players in the fold at inside linebacker, this move is not surprising.

As for Proctor, his decision does come as a surprise. According to this Daily Progress report, perhaps the parting was mutual. However, Virginia is already losing two starters from this year’s offensive line in right tackle Marcus Applefield and right guard Jake Fieler, so there would appear to be a big need for Proctor to return. Nevertheless, he is leaving Charlottesville and reportedly has some outstanding options to consider.

With Proctor, Fieler, and Applefield gone, Virginia’s projected returning scholarship offensive line features only three players with significant starting experience – Chris Glaser, who started seven games at left guard this season and received two starts at right tackle as a freshman; left tackle Ryan Nelson, who started all 13 games as a redshirt freshman this season; Dillon Reinkensmeyer, who has started 24 games the past two seasons (primarily at center, but he has seen time at right guard and left tackle as well).

SENIORS (projected class in the 2019 season): None (Don’t be surprised if the staff eyes a grad transfer this offseason.)
JUNIORS: Chris Glaser (OL), Ben Knutson (OG), Dillon Reinkensmeyer (C/OL)
SOPHOMORES: Tyler Fannin (C), Bobby Haskins (OT), Ryan Nelson (OT), Ryan Swoboda (OT), Gerrik Vollmer (C/OG)
REDSHIRT FRESHMEN: Joe Bissinger (OL), Derek Devine (OG), Micah Mariteragi (OL), Martin Weisz (OG)
2019 CLASS: Kariem Al Soufi, Ja’Quay Hubbard, Jonathan Leech, Zachary Teter

In addition to Sheppard and Proctor, seldom used wide receivers Riah Burton and Cole Blackman have announced they are transferring as well.

BRIGGS PRAISED FOR PERFORMANCE IN UNDER ARMOUR ALL-AMERICAN GAME

Virginia football’s first Under Armour All-American in the Bronco Mendenhall era showed he belongs ranked among the nation’s best high school senior prospects with a standout performance in the 2019 Under Armour All-American Bowl held last Thursday, January 3 in Orlando, Florida. Consensus 4-star defensive tackle Jowon Briggs, a senior at Walnut Hills High School (Cincinnati, OH), was credited with five tackles including a sack and a tackle-for-loss while helping his team – the Deion Sanders-coached Ballaholics – defeat Team Flash, 28-27.

Rivals.com released a “stock report” article following the game. Click here to read the feature, which lists the 6’2”, 286-pound Briggs as one who helped his stock. If you have some time and ESPN, you can click here to watch the Under Armour All-American Bowl. Here are some notable plays from the soon-to-be Hoo …

– Briggs, who got the start at one of the two defensive tackle spots, makes a solo tackle on a 4-yard rush up the middle at the 11:50 mark of the first quarter.

– Around the 9:08 mark of the first quarter is when Briggs makes the sack. The quarterback dropped deep but was forced up by the defensive end. Briggs, who had made a nice push, beat Tennessee-bound offensive lineman Wanya Morris to make the play.

– Briggs is in on an assisted tackle at the 13:41 mark of the second quarter.

– Briggs stuffs the running back for a no gain with 11:40 left in the fourth quarter. A nice solo tackle of future Penn State running back Noah Cain (5’10”, 205 pounds).

– With 3:20 left in the fourth quarter, Briggs comes down the line to make the tackle, holding the runner to a 1-yard gain.

For me, Briggs’ strength was his strength. There were a few occasions where he was double-teamed by two offensive linemen. He held his ground on both occasions. For further proof of Briggs’ strength, check out his latest lifting numbers below.

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