Cody Brown Selects Virginia As Transfer Destination

The new Virginia football coaches want to create more balance for the offense, which points toward more traditional running plays to add to an already potent passing attack. To do that, though, the roster needs running back depth and the Hoos addressed that Wednesday with a commitment from Miami transfer Cody Brown.

Brown, who has three years of eligibility remaining, announced his decision via Twitter.

Brown appeared in 10 games for the Hurricanes last season and posted 34 carries for 139 yards (4.1 yards per carry) and 3 touchdowns. The majority of that production came against Central Connecticut State and Duke. Against CCS, he had 14 carries for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns. Against the Blue Devils, he had 7 carries for 35 yards. His other touchdown on the season came against North Carolina.

The 5’11”, 215-pound back excelled at Parkview High School in Lilburn, Georgia prior to attending Miami. He rushed for 4,791 yards in his final three seasons of high school and scored more than 60 touchdowns. He posted 1,588 yards as a sophomore, 1,676 yards as a junior, and 1,527 yards as a senior. Parkview played in the 7A classification in Georgia. Fans can view Brown’s Hudl highlights here.

That production earned him consensus 4-star ratings from the recruiting services and Rivals considered him the No. 11 running back nationally in his class. That led to offers from many Power 5 programs. Brown chose Miami over Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, and others. There was also interest from Clemson and then-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, who is now the coach at Virginia.

Elliott and offensive coordinator Des Kitchings have discussed the desire for a more balanced or effective running game to complement a passing attack that soared with Brennan Armstrong at the helm last fall. Armstrong returned along with most of his top weapons in the passing game so the coaches don’t want to ignore the strengths of the offense, but they do want to add more traditional rushing plays to the menu.

When Wayne Taulapapa transferred to Washington with his final year of eligibility, it left the UVA running back room with just four players entering spring practice. That number dropped to two for a long stretch when Ronnie Walker Jr. (5’11”, 218) and Perris Jones (5’8”, 180) suffered injuries. That meant a lot of reps for Mike Hollins (5’9”, 203) and Amaad Foston (6’0”, 217), but it also further spotlighted the depth needs of the position.

Jones made it back for the Virginia Blue-White Spring Game, but Walker is not expected to be ready at the start of preseason camp. The Cavaliers have an incoming freshman in Xavier Brown (5’11”, 175 – no relation), the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year, and a walk-on, but that’s still just four healthy scholarship backs. The Hoos had contacted potential transfers such as Buffalo back Dylan McDuffie, but he chose Georgia Tech.

Cody Brown ended up filling the spot and it will immediately infuse competition at the running back position. The Cavaliers will have new starters across the offensive line so a back that can break tackles or make things work with smaller gaps at times may earn carries. The Hoos also will utilize some play action and will continue to use Armstrong’s strengths in the passing game so what the backs do without the ball in carrying through fakes or protecting the pocket could be a factor as well.

Walk-On Addition

The Virginia football team received more good news Wednesday when Varina High School’s Ant Fisher committed as a recruited walk-on. The senior chose the Hoos over opportunities at Norfolk State, VMI, Yale, Army, and Air Force. Obviously, former members of the Army and Air Force coaching staffs are now at UVA.

Fisher earned recognition as the VHSL Class 4 State Player of the Year in football. He played multiple positions, including receiver and defensive back. He had 80 carries for 840 yards and 11 touchdowns plus 35 catches for 640 yards and 7 touchdowns. He threw a touchdown pass in the state title game. On defense, he posted 45 tackles, 24 pass break-ups, and 5 interceptions. In the secondary, he teamed with fellow Virginia walk-on Carlo Thompson. Fans can view his Hudl highlights here.

After winning the state title in football, Fisher helped the basketball team accomplish the same feat. He told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that “I’m somebody that’s never going to give up. I’m a hard worker, and if you’re on my team, we will win regardless.”