The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Led by locals, Virginia Football will bring the firepower on offense in 2024

A dynamic duo of transfer wide receivers will dominate with an already talented Cavalier squad

<p>Elliott leads the rising Cavalier offense.</p>

Elliott leads the rising Cavalier offense.

With a seemingly unlimited transfer portal, contemporary college football is volatile. There are now multiple transfer portal windows, multiple national signing days and a constant whirlwind of change. Past the chaos though, there is a clear silver lining — a program can go from rags to riches in less than 24 hours. With his latest wide receiver signings, Coach Tony Elliott has struck gold.

Virginia’s 3-9 record in 2023 was nothing special, but it was far from tremendously dire. The Cavaliers lost five games by just one possession each, meaning the team was only a handful of plays away from making a bowl game appearance. There are certainly offensive building blocks in place for Elliott to turn his program around.

Elliott himself comes from an offense-centered coaching background, having served as a positional coach for every offensive skill position plus seven years as Clemson’s offensive coordinator. On the receiving end of that experience, star junior wide receiver Malachi Fields returns — as well as a handful of talented underclassmen who have not received ample playing time, such as sophomore running back Xavier Brown and freshman tight end TeKai Kirby. 

To add to the list of solid players returning, Elliott was also able to land a pair of highly touted transfer wide receivers — both from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Graduate student Chris Tyree and junior Andre Greene Jr. arrive at Virginia with experience from Notre Dame and North Carolina, respectively. Elliott was thrilled to earn the commitments of two elite receivers, noting his excitement to welcome Tyree in particular at the beginning of the spring practice season.

“You look at Tyree, similar skill set to Malik [Washington],” Elliott said. “He’s another guy that’s fast, like world class speed, and very versatile too.” 

Graduate student receiver Malik Washington, of course, set the single season school record for both receptions and receiving yards. Elliott making that comparison is setting a very high standard for Tyree, but the connection does make sense. At 5’9,” Tyree is also a smaller receiver and has a natural ability to consistently generate explosive plays. He averaged 18.6 yards per reception last year for the Fighting Irish. Tyree will also be wearing Washington’s No. 4 this season. 

Talent aside, earning the commitments of Tyree and Greene has massive implications for the program as a whole. Instead of finishing their careers with college football heavyweights, star players are choosing to play for their home state school. The Commonwealth is home to some of the best high school recruits year in and year out, yet most of those recruits opt to attend an SEC or Big Ten school. However, Elliott is making tangibly large strides towards keeping talented Virginians in-state. 

“Seeing what Coach Elliott is doing with this program, it just made me want to become a part of something like this,” Greene said. 

In the 2022 high school class, Greene was ranked as the second best player in Virginia. He received official offers from Georgia, Oregon and Southern California alongside dozens of other programs. Ultimately, Greene will happily return home to the team that gave him his first offer — the Cavaliers.

“Being from Virginia, everybody loves U.Va.,” Greene said. “It just means a lot that I’m going to be able to play in an atmosphere like this and be so close to home with so many passionate fans.”

Tyree was also heavily sought after, as he received notable offers from Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State, among others. As a high school senior in 2020, Tyree was ranked as a five-star recruit and the No. 1 All-Purpose Back in the nation — ahead of current Miami Dolphins running back Devon Achane and current Baltimore Ravens running back Keaton Mitchell. Labeled as a speedy running back with strong pass catching skills, Tyree played all over the field for Notre Dame before eventually being officially listed as a wide receiver. 

“They [Virginia] made it clear that I was really wanted in the program,” Tyree said. 

Other players share Tyree’s sentiment. As Washington paved the way for talented transfers who were previously underutilized to join the Cavaliers and become a focal point of the offense, Elliott may have found a sustainable way to buoy his program. Tyree will likely absorb a large percentage of Washington’s outgoing targets, which — in addition to elevating Virginia’s game — could also be crucial for his NFL Draft stock. 

Hailing from Chester, Va., Tyree will quickly become a fan favorite at Scott Stadium as he pursues his NFL dreams. With a stellar transfer class, the 2024 season is shaping up to look rather optimistic for the Cavaliers.

“Now that I’m here, I’m going to represent Virginia to the best of my ability,” Tyree said. 

Greene did not receive abundant playing time with the Tar Heels — and will now become a likely starter for the Cavaliers, helping them to build on last season’s successes.

“Keeping some of those [in-state] guys [like Tyree] home, I feel like it will be the blueprint in winning a lot more games,” Greene said. 

Despite new prized additions, Elliott has yet to consistently acquire elite recruits out of high school, as Virginia’s 2024 class was ranked third-worst in the ACC. Wake Forest and Boston College were the only other ACC schools that were unable to sign a four star recruit. However, the modern transfer portal is more than enough to solve that issue — the Cavaliers have the 31st ranked transfer class in the nation, ahead of powerhouse schools like Alabama, Clemson and Georgia. 

Ample opportunities for playing time along with world-class academics are turning Charlottesville into a prime destination for high quality players. When asked about his decision to join the Cavaliers, Tyree did not hesitate to share his excitement to lead an up and coming program. 

“It was a pretty easy decision for me to come to Virginia,” Tyree said. 

As the team begins to take shape during spring practice, the 2024 Cavaliers are looking to build off of a competitive season that saw a handful of brutally close losses. Experienced transfers will aid in Elliott’s quest towards bowl game eligibility — a goal that may be closer to fruition than some believe. 


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.