Virginia Football: Special Teams Coverage Aces

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Players may not receive as much publicity for it, but their performances on special teams can be the difference in determining whether Virginia football wins or loses a game. I’m referring to those players on the kick and punt coverage units.

Special Teams Coordinator Ricky Brumfield expressed his excitement about Virginia football’s first year players and the potential impact they could have on special teams in 2021.

“I would like to say this is probably the most depth I’ve had on special teams since I’ve been here, as far as a lot of young guys being able to come in and play right away,” said Brumfield, whose kickoff coverage unit surrendered 19.75 yards per return last season, ranking 45th in the nation. “Some of the guys that have stood out, younger guy-wise, is Jonas Sanker, Lex Long, West Weeks. Those guys have stood out as far as – James Jackson – as far as probably going to make some heavy contributions early on in the season on special teams. There’s other guys as well, but those guys right now on the top of my mind right now, just finishing watching film, of guys that have stood out that I plan on making a lot of big plays for us.”

The impact the talented true freshmen have on the Cavalier special teams will be interesting to watch. But who are the experienced returners leading the way on the special teams coverage units? What upperclassmen could make significant impacts?

Hayden Mitchell

Mitchell has seen the field sparingly as a wide receiver, but special teams is where he has made his mark. As a redshirt sophomore, the former walk-on played 134 special teams snaps – eighth highest on the team – in the 2019 season. Mitchell