Hoo Preview 2013: Phelps, DBs Prep For Challenges

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Brandon Phelps

Safety Brandon Phelps knew a lot about the University of Virginia when he committed out of Damascus High School in Maryland. Both of his parents graduated from UVa after all. He knew some history of the football team too. His father Gary played football and earned letters in 1982 and 1983.

Already entering his junior year, Phelps said his college choice has lived up to his expectations.

“It’s been that and more. Honestly, this is probably the best decision I’ve ever made,” Phelps said. “The best atmosphere, game atmosphere, the best people. We’re surrounded by great people. I love it.”

Phelps believes he is surrounded by great guys in the secondary too. Fellow safety Anthony Harris and cornerback DreQuan Hoskey live together as do Phelps and cornerback Demetrious Nicholson . That quartet logged all but two of the available starts last season (46 of 48 starting nods for the four secondary spots) and combined for 227 tackles. Phelps chipped in 48 of those stops and added 3 pass break-ups as well.

Their bond on and off the field carries through to game days, Phelps said.

“It kind of gives us that brotherhood kind of mentality. You’ll play your heart out for your brother,” Phelps said. “We hang out on the field, off the field, on the weekends – we’re always hanging out.”

Nicholson said he trusts Phelps behind him at safety, something that is always vital for a cornerback but grew even more important when Jon Tenuta took over as defensive coordinator. The Cavaliers have installed an aggressive 4-3 scheme this offseason, which will place the secondary in some new roles for 2013. Cornerbacks like Nicholson will be left in one-on-one man coverage at times against receivers