Former Virginia stars Ahmad Brooks and Cam Johnson represented the Cavaliers in Sunday’s Super Bowl, both playing linebacker for the losing San Francisco 49ers.
Starting alongside Pro Bowlers Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman, Brooks registered five tackles in the 49ers’ 31-34 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens. He totalled 46 tackles and 6.5 sacks in the regular season after tallying a career-high 50 tackles and 7.0 sacks in 2011. A Fairfax native, Brooks earned All-American honors in 2004 for the Cavaliers before injuries and off-field indiscretions tarnished the final year of his Virginia career. After spending two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Brooks has played for the 49ers since 2008.
Although Johnson failed to notch a tackle in his rookie campaign with San Francisco, he was nevertheless on the roster for the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance since the 1994 season. Despite enrolling at Virginia in 2008 as a defensive back and wide receiver at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C., Johnson excelled with the Cavaliers primarily as a pass-rushing outside linebacker and defensive end. He enjoyed his best statistical season in 2010, racking up 53 tackles and 6.5 sacks as a junior.
This marks the second consecutive year at least one Virginia football player has appeared in the Super Bowl after Chris Canty helped the New York Giants claim the world title last February.
—compiled by Fritz Metzinger