The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Virginia wideouts run for stardom

The Cavaliers enter the 2000 season with the loss of three All-Americans, the return of several new faces and a renovated Scott Stadium. But for the Virginia receiving crew, little has changed. They are just looking to improve and build upon the experience they already have.

"Our wideouts should be a better group than they were last year," Virginia coach George Welsh said. "Everybody is back, so we have experience, we have depth and we have speed. I hope this season we can get a little more out of our passing game."

Sophomore Billy McMullen leads the wide receivers into 2000. The young talent from Richmond did not start a single game last season as a rookie but was the team's top receiver. He hauled in 28 receptions for 483 yards, breaking Herman Moore's school record for receptions by a freshman and becoming the first rookie in school history to lead the team in receptions and receiving yards. The 6-foot-4, 202-pounder also garnered ACC Rookie of the Week honors three times. By the end of 1999, McMullen was Virginia's top receiving threat. All six of his touchdown grabs came in the last five games of the regular season, including an acrobatic game-winner at Maryland.

"Billy McMullen is the person that most people will look at and say 'He's the guy that we've got to watch,'" Virginia quarterback Dan Ellis said. "With the year he had and the hard work he's put into the offseason, he's probably our number one guy right now."

Opposite McMullen, senior Kevin Coffey brings experience and maturity. The East Cleveland, Ohio, native matched McMullen's 28 receptions in 1999, covering 437 yards. He led the team with seven touchdown catches, despite undergoing an up-and-down season with 11 receptions in the first three games and only seven in the next five before pulling in 10 catches in the last three contests.

But the most valuable contribution that Coffey will bring to Virginia is his experience. The 6-4, 204-pound receiver is one of the most seasoned wide receivers in the ACC after starting for two years. With a reception in his last 22 regular season games, he boasts the seventh-longest ongoing streak in the nation. He also leads all active ACC players with 13 touchdown receptions.

Other wideouts competing for playing time include sophomore speedster Tavon Mason, who saw action as both a wide receiver and kick returner in all of Virginia's regular season games in 1999. Also contending is senior Demetrius Dotson, who is looking to bounce back from a midseason knee injury that caused him to miss the final five games of last season. Dotson started four of the first six games and was fourth on the team in receiving before his injury. Sophomore James Johnson rounds out a group of receivers so deep that Virginia was able to move 1999 starter Ahmad Hawkins to cornerback.

At tight end, the Cavs return one of the ACC's best in senior Billy Baber. In 1999, Baber was fifth on the team in receiving, catching 17 passes for 118 yards. The Crozet native is also a solid blocker. With such talent and experience and with essentially no changes to its lineup, the Cavalier receiving crew should be much improved in 2000.


Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.