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Virginia adds depth at corner, picking up SMU grad transfer Sam Westfall

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Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia picked up more help for its rebuilding secondary, getting a commitment off the transfer portal from SMU grad student Sam Westfall.

Westfall was a four-year player at SMU, but saw most of his action last season, getting on the field for 464 snaps, grading out at 57.7 for his work, according to Pro Football Focus.

PFF had him allowing 15 catches on 32 targets (244 coverage snaps) for 232 yards and two TDs, for an NFL passer rating against of 92.2.

Other counting stats included 18 tackles and three pass breakups.

Virginia is losing two shutdown corners from its 2022 defense – Fentrell Cypress (87.8 PFF grade, 18 receptions on 40 targets, nine pass breaksups, 58.2 NFL passer rating against in 2022), who transferred to Florida State, and Anthony Johnson (82.5 PFF grade, 31 catches on 60 targets, nine pass breakups, 53.3 NFL passer rating against), who signed a free-agent contract with the New Orleans Saints after not having his name called in last month’s NFL Draft.

Westfall figures to compete for one of the two open starting spots at cornerback for Virginia, alongside Tayvonn Kyle, an Iowa State grad transfer who was on hand for spring practice.

Kyle, a former three-star prep recruit from Valdosta, Ga., was on the field for Iowa State on 372 snaps in ’22, according to PFF. On 206 coverage snaps, he allowed 17 receptions on 28 targets for 159 yards and four touchdowns, with three pass breakups.

Opposing QBs had a 115.9 NFL passer rating on their targets against Kyle in 2022, according to PFF.

Kyle was an honorable-mention All-Big 12 guy in 2019 and 2020, the latter of which was his best year statistically. In the 2020 season, Kyle, on 255 coverage snaps, allowed 23 receptions on 45 targets for 230 yards and one touchdown, with one INT and six pass breakups, and a 64.1 NFL passer rating against.

Coen King, a rising sixth-year senior who graded out at 72.8 by PFF on 348 snaps at safety in 2022, got some reps at corner in the spring.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].