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Virginia loses Lavel Davis Jr., Chico Bennett Jr. to ACL injuries

Lavel Davis Jr.
Lavel Davis Jr. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Significant injury news from Virginia’s spring practice: star wideout Lavel Davis Jr. and Georgia Tech transfer Chico Bennett Jr. both suffered ACL injuries in camp last week are out until at least November.

“One noncontact just changing directions, and the other, two guys getting tangled up,” UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall told reporters on a Zoom call on Monday.

Davis is the one who was injured in the tangle with another player, a defensive back, according to Mendenhall.

It’s a big loss for the Virginia offense, which was looking for a big leap from the 6’7” wideout in his sophomore season.

Davis had 20 catches in eight games in 2020, averaging 25.8 yards per catch.

Mendenhall had said at the outset of spring practice that the plan was to target Davis a lot more than was done in 2020, when he only saw 42 balls come his way – an average of 5.3 per game.

Bennett, a 6’4”, 250-pound sophomore, played his first two seasons at Georgia Tech, recording 31 tackles on his 412 snaps over the 2019 and 2020 seasons, with a Pro Football Focus grade in 2020 at 59.1.

He had nine QB pressures on 144 pass-rush snaps in 2020.

Bennett played linebacker at Georgia Tech, but he was getting a look at defensive end this spring at UVA.

“The only way to really avoid it is not practicing in the spring,” Mendenhall said. “It always makes you question every time, it makes you question what to do different, how to do it better, or just not do it at all. And those are those are always the questions, and it bothers me more than it ever has, just since I’ve been a head coach longer. I build relationships with these players, and the ACL take a long time. That’s a hard rehab, hard recovery, and in Lavel’s case, he’s already done it once, in high school, so he knows how to do it, and he’s optimistic, and he’s hard working. Both are in good spirits and anxious to return as soon as possible.”

Story by Chris Graham

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