Former Virginia Football QB, Current LCA Assistant Michael Rocco Talks Virginia First Year Davis Lane Jr.

Jay Woolfolk, Brennan Armstrong’s primary backup in 2021, will be in Charlottesville on April 23, only he won’t be with the football team suiting up for the Spring Game. He’ll be with the baseball team, playing for Brian O’Connor and the Cavalier baseball team as the Hoos host North Carolina. Virginia will feature only one other scholarship quarterback outside of its record-breaking starter this spring, and he is true freshman Davis Lane Jr.

Lane graduated early from Liberty Christian Academy and enrolled on Grounds in January of 2022. In two years at LCA he worked under the tutelage of former UVA starting quarterback Michael Rocco, who serves as quarterbacks coach at the Lynchburg prep school.

“Right off the bat, you’re a new kid coming in midyear without a full year,” Rocco answered when asked about the benefits and challenges of enrolling early. “I came in during the summer, so I had a full room of freshmen I was with. I think that will be one of the biggest hurdles. There are benefits to that as well, but he has to overcome the homesickness and adapt to college life quickly. Right away, before football even starts, there will be an adjustment. In general, his biggest strength is adaptability. His ability to learn and adapt. Everyone will be on square one in terms of learning the offense. Everyone is taking an intensive. I think that’s to his advantage. The new staff will have fresh eyes on everyone.”

The 6’1″, 185-pound freshman signal caller “is a guy that I’m excited about,” Virginia head coach Tony Elliott said. “I think he has some potential that he hasn’t tapped into.”

Because of Woolfolk’s baseball pursuits and Iraken Armstead’s offseason transfer, “Davis could be getting second-team reps (this spring),” Rocco said. “Having a veteran who has been a highly successful player to lean on will help, but it is also meaningful that he could get reps with the second or third team. Again, that will push him forward light years. It will really help him adapt.”

Rocco’s relationship with the UVA first year began when Lane was in the eighth grade. After two seasons at Jefferson Forest High School in Forest, Virginia, Lane transferred to Liberty Christian Academy. As a junior in a COVID-shortened spring season, Lane helped the Bulldogs to a 6-2 mark. LCA enjoyed an undefeated regular season in the fall of 2021, winning 13 of 14 contests. The lone loss was a 22-14 defeat to Phoebus in the Class 3 state championship.

Lane threw for over 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns his senior season. A dual threat from the quarterback spot, he added 600 yards rushing and 12 scores.

“Even as a young kid, he had the tools,” Rocco recalled. “He was always fast.”

“He wanted a future in football, so we put him on the fast track as a junior to get him to where he wanted to be,” Rocco said. “I still think getting him into a college system will exponentially grow him. Get him in the classroom, have him learn at a high level. He has the physical tools. It’s a matter of how quickly he will progress. A lot of things go into being a successful quarterback.”

As a senior, Lane “physically was way farther along with strength and development,” Rocco said. “The offseason going into his senior year, he got very strong. He benches somewhere in the 300s. He has won a state championship in the 55 meters. He’s complete in the physical tools.”

Asked how Lane’s skills, in particular his passing skills, improved over the past two seasons, Rocco answered, “I wouldn’t say he has Pat Mahomes arm strength, but I don’t think anybody does. He’s got good enough arm strength in terms of throwing the deep ball, throwing an out route. That definitely would not worry me. He has the tools and the speed. He can run away from faster guys on the team. I don’t see him as a Bryce Perkins-type who will pound it at you, but he can get out of trouble. He has a knack for doing that type of thing.”

What advice did the former Virginia and University of Richmond signal caller have for Lane as his collegiate career begins?

“He’s a very motivated kid,” Rocco said. “He’s a gym rat. He says and does all the right things, but what I’ve encouraged is for him to bring others along with him. It’s okay to work by yourself, but it’s important to bring teammates with you while you work to get better, to build that camaraderie.”

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