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Mendenhall advising Virginia players in portal to remain patient through coaching change

bronco mendenhall
UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

There are still some big Virginia names in the transfer portal – second-team All-American Olusegun Oluwatimi, fellow offensive linemen Ryan Swoboda and Bobby Haskins, outside linebacker Noah Taylor.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall, who is stepping down after the Wasabi Fenway Bowl next week, hopes none of the Cavaliers still in the portal make a final decision on where they’re going to be next year until they see what happens at UVA.

Mendenhall said Wednesday that he’s spent almost every morning with new coach Tony Elliott over the past week, and that he’s “really impressed” with Elliott and wants to see him and the program succeed going forward.

“I would like his point of references to be accelerated from the exchanges we’re having. I’d like him to have his best chance to continue on and have just a great career here,” Mendenhall said.

He also feels that connection with the players that he and his staff recruited to Virginia.

“Many times, outside sources tried to have us rush and impose timeframes, and they give us partial information that’s special interested, that might benefit them, without seeing everything and the best. I want them to see everything,” Mendenhall said. “I want them to know all their options, and I have preferred they all remain to continue on. However, right, they get to choose, just like coaches get to choose, and I think that’s fair.

“But my hope is, right, that they would not choose until they know exactly what happens here. And I think it’s a powerful option. And I think it’s worth considering strongly as the point of reference, rather than a comparison to something else,” Mendenhall said.

There was one bit of good news in that respect on Thursday with the word that redshirt freshman tight end Joshua Rawlings has withdrawn his name from the transfer portal.

The former three-star recruit saw action in six games this season as a redshirt freshman, getting a total of 16 snaps on offense and special teams.

Rawlings is the second Virginia player to enter the portal and then decide to return to date, joining redshirt freshman defensive lineman Olasunkonmi Agunloye, who was on the field for 204 snaps in eight games in the 2021 regular season.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press