Taking photos during spring practice at Virginia can be challenging when it comes to the identification process. Since Bronco Mendenhall arrived, the Hoos don’t wear jersey numbers in the spring and the only way to identify someone sometimes is by a strip of tape across the helmet.
So what happens when even that doesn’t help? The “99 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff” series continues.
No. 69 – Who?
In preparing the photo gallery for the site after the final spring practice, I pulled out a photo I liked from receiver drills. It’s the one above. The sunlight almost completely washed out the helmet tape so getting an ID at first glance didn’t go well. Zooming in with Photoshop, however, showed just enough of the letters to figure it out.
Zain Khokhar. Wait, who?
On a roster the size of a football team, it’s sometimes difficult to remember every name, particularly of some of the walk-ons that play for the team. That gets even harder when the walk-on joined the team mid-career after preseason practices.
That’s the story for Khokhar (pronounced Coh-Car), a senior on the roster. He walked on with the Virginia football program in September of last season. A 2015 graduate of Wakefield High in Arlington, he played receiver, defensive back, and quarterback during his high school career. His VirginiaSports.com bio also notes that he earned all-region honors and was a team captain.
Here are few of highlights from his high school days. He started for four years at Wakefield.
It’s easy to forget the number of players like Khokhar putting in a lot of hard work for the Hoos. Some may never even see the field on game day. But I found a quote in The Wakefield Chieftain student newspaper from Khokhar’s senior season that every UVA fan hopes is happening with his college program right now – that people are changing the way they think of the Cavaliers. Wakefield made the second round of the playoffs his senior season with a 9-4 record.
“I am proud to be a part of this team and hope that we changed the way people think of Wakefield football. I’ve played varsity football at Wakefield for the past four years and the program has improved significantly,” he said as a senior.
With that in mind, here’s a hat tip to some of the unknown names trying to help establish consistent success again for the Virginia football program.
The “99 Virginia Football Thoughts Before Kickoff” series has discussed much more. The previous articles are below. Click away.
- No. 99 – The importance of a fast start
- No. 98 – The impact of early-ending careers
- No. 97 – Jordan Mack’s role
- No. 96 – Welcome Back
- No. 95 – Han Solo Says
- No. 94 -Smart Addition
- No. 93 – The Center Spot
- No. 92 – Finding A Punt Returner
- No. 91 – Facing Running Quarterbacks
- No. 90 – Interceptions
- No. 89 – Kickoff Times
- No. 88 – QB Optimism Not Enough To Tilt Early Predictions Too Far
- No. 87 – It Starts With Jordan Ellis
- No. 86 – Virginia’s Most Dangerous Game
- No. 85 – The Tight End Swan Song?
- No. 84 – Teach A Man To Fish
- No. 83 – No Ordinary Joe
- No. 82 – Now Or Then
- No. 81 – How To Treat The Kickoff Rule Change
- No. 80 – Play, But Still Redshirt
- No. 79 – Which Red Zone Offense Is The Real One?
- No. 78 – Schedule For Success
- No. 77 – Who’s The Worst?
- No. 76 – ACC Coach Rankings
- No. 75 – Keep That Cold Weather Gear
- No. 74 – 1,000 Target For OZ
- No. 73 – Cross Out Cross-Training For Cross
- No. 72 – Punting Plans
- No. 71 – Redshirted … Ready?
- No. 70 – A June Jolt