Mendenhall announces that nine UVA fourth-, fifth-years will return in 2021
The returnees include:
- Defensive ends Mandy Alonso and Adeeb Atariwa
- Free safety Joey Blount,
- Outside linebacker Elliott Brown
- Cornerbacks De’Vante Cross and Nick Grant
- Offensive linemen Chris Glaser and Ryan Nelson
- Wideout Ra’Shaun Henry
“Due to my injury, I felt like I had more to give to this team and my brothers,” said Blount, who missed five games due to injury in 2020, and had 25 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, one interception and two pass breakups in the five games he played
“Also, I think that we have an opportunity to be one of the best teams in ACC if we stay consistent and healthy,” Blount said.
The return of Blount, Cross and Grant – the starting free safety and both starting corners – bolsters – bolsters a unit that also returns sophomores Antonio Clary and Coen King and junior Darrius Bratton.
“The vision I have for myself goes beyond football and is rooted in who I can become as a person in order that I can help others. UVA has allowed both to happen simultaneously while receiving one, and soon, two degrees from the University,” said Grant, who started all 10 games for the Cavaliers in 2020 with 29 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks and two interceptions. “Whatever the future has for me will always be for me. I believe that I have not finished with what I have started here, and I am proud to announce that I am coming back for another season.”
“It’s been a hectic journey these past (five) years. From position changes, surgeries, playing, riding the bench, and finally starting these last two years,” said Cross, who started all 10 games in 2020 and made 29 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and two interceptions. “This program has made me into the man I am today and has granted me an opportunity to chase my dream of playing in the NFL. I’m going to continue to chase that dream and further my education.”
“I wanted to come back because I believe this team can go far next season next. The past season was a good year for the O line, and I want to play one more year with them and for Brennan,” said Glaser, started all 10 games of 2020 at right guard.
“I’m coming back because I didn’t want my senior year to end like last year,” said Nelson, who started all 10 games in 2020 at left tackle. “Also, I miss the football environment with all the fans, the noise and the atmosphere at the games. I’m hoping to have that next season.”
Story by Chris Graham