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Keytaon Thompson is back: What this means for the Virginia offense

Keytaon Thompson
Keytaon Thompson. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

The release of the Virginia football roster for 2022 on Monday included the name of Keytaon Thompson, who emerged this past season as a top target for QB1 Brennan Armstrong.

Thompson, listed as a 6’4”, 210-pound FBP – “football player” – led Virginia with 78 catches (on a team-high 112 targets) in 2021.

His 453 yards after catch were tops among the receiver corps.

His 52 first downs through the air, also tops.

His 990 yards through the air ranked second (Dontayvion Wicks: 1,201 yards).

Thompson (Pro Football Focus grade: 85.5) was also a factor in the ground game, gaining 247 yards rushing, averaging 6.3 yards per attempt, and scoring four rushing touchdowns.

Thompson’s return means Virginia gets back its top three pass-catchers from 2021 – along with Wicks (57 catches on 93 targets, 1,201 yards, 78.8 PFF grade), Billy Kemp IV (74 catches on 99 targets, 710 yards, PFF grade: 73.8) – as well as getting back Lavel Davis Jr., who averaged 25.8 yards per catch in 2020 (PFF grade: 65.2), and missed the 2021 season recovering from an ACL injury suffered in spring practice.

The offense also gets Armstrong (4,449 yards, 65.2 completion percentage, 31 TDs/10 INTs, 91.8 PFF grade) back as the trigger man.

It’s not likely that new coach Tony Elliott and new offensive coordinator Desmond Kitchings will rely on Armstrong to throw the ball 45.6 times per game, as he did in 2021.

The pass/run split under OC Robert Anae was 72.0 percent/28.0 percent for the ‘Hoos in 2021. Elliott, as the offensive coordinator at Clemson, had a pass/run split in 2021 of 50.5 percent/49.5 percent.

Which means you probably don’t see KT getting 112 targets in 2022, but his versatility – he can line up in the slot, at wideout, at tight end, come out of the backfield – makes him a building block for Elliott and Kitchings.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press
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