Lucky No. 13 – Minnifield Making Impact

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

Chase Minnifield said he looks to make game-changing plays, such as his first career interception against Richmond on the goal line last season.

A Lexington, KY, native like Chase Minnifield might not know much about a school like Virginia. Premier football players in Kentucky often tend to stay in Kentucky. They become Kentucky Wildcats or Louisville Cardinals. So when one of his high school coaches brought down a tape of Virginia football, Minnifield didn’t know much about it. When he subsequently talked to a man by the name of Al Groh, he didn’t know much about him, either.

And that might have been all that Minnifield ever knew of Virginia, if it hadn’t been for his father. Frank Minnifield was a pro-bowl defensive back for the Cleveland Browns, playing from 1984-1992. In 1992, Groh was the Browns’ linebackers coach.

“I told my dad, and he was like, ‘Al Groh? He coached me at Cleveland for a little while,'” Chase said. “My dad was real big on Coach Groh, and he said, ‘If you want to play at the next level, Coach Groh will be the guy that gets you there.'”

What’s more, Minnifield was also successful in the classroom in high school, earning all-state academic honors. So, the prospect of attending Virginia pleased mom, too.

“That was pretty big,” Minnifield said. “My mother, she’s a big academic person, and my father, he really liked Al Groh. So we put that together, and you really can’t beat Virginia.”

Minnifield committed to UVa in May of 2006 without a second thought, and he is paying dividends for the Cavs this season. Minnifield has 14 tackles – two more than his buddy Chris Cook , who plays ahead of him at corner. He also has emerged as a reliable special teams player for Groh; last year, he had a team-best 23.3 yards per return as the primary kick returner. This season, Minnifield has slowly