Fan Friday: Virginia Continues Portal Flurry

After a busy December with high school early signing day and the start of the transfer portal window, the Virginia football program opened January with another flurry of activity.

The Hoos brought in four more players from the portal as Eastern Michigan cornerback Kempton Shine, Clemson tight end Sage Ennis, cornerback Jermarian Jackson (Robert Morris), and quarterback Gavin Frakes (New Mexico State) all opted to join UVA. The quartet brought the portal total to 11 for this cycle. In December, the Cavaliers received commitments from receiver Trell Harris (Kent State), receiver Andre Greene Jr. (North Carolina), cornerback Kendren Smith (Pennsylvania), offensive lineman Drake Metcalf (Central Florida/Stanford), tight end Tyler Neville (Harvard), linebacker/defensive back Corey Thomas (Akron), and receiver Chris Tyree (Notre Dame) as incoming transfers.

It’s clear to see from the list what the coaching staff prioritized in the winter window for the portal: receivers and defensive backs. The Wahoos added three receivers, three corners, and one hybrid DB in Thomas. Beyond that, there are also two tight ends so there was an obvious focus on getting more potential contributors and competition at the skill positions on offense. UVA also made sure to get depth at quarterback, an important move given that Tony Muskett missed 6 games last season due to injuries.

The 11th portal pick-up: Metcalf on the offensive line.

That seems to be the biggest conversation point among fans, who would like to see more reinforcements in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The Cavaliers return numerous players with experience on the lines. Brian Stevens, Ty Furnish, Noah Josey, McKale Boley, Blake Steen, Ugonna Nnanna, and Jimmy Christ all played significant snaps on the OL, while Jahmeer Carter, Kam Butler, Chico Bennett Jr., Ben Smiley III, Michael Diatta, and Bryce Carter are among players that contributed on the DL.

Still, UVA allowed 43 sacks on offense to tie for 123rd nationally (out of 133 teams) and 96 total tackles for loss to tie for 130th. On the defensive side, the Wahoos finished tied for last in the Football Bowl Subdivision with only 11 sacks and 112th nationally with 57 tackles for loss. Without portal moves to change the look in those spots, the concern is whether the team can get internal improvement and development from players that already have seen the field or younger players working behind the scenes to join the mix. Virginia may take another look after spring practices when the portal opens again.

Here’s some of what fans are saying about the portal additions to date:

With that, let’s get the fan picks for the week!

Fan(s) Of The Week

Love the Hoos!

Virginia Cavaliers

Student Fan(s) Of The Week

Hands up for the Wahoos.

Virginia Cavaliers

Feature Photo Of The Week

Andrew Rohde and the Hoos are trying to find the range on the road.

Virginia Cavaliers Andrew Rohde