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Ahead of the 2023-24 football season, significant change is on the docket in Scott Stadium’s home locker room, as several familiar faces have departed for the pros or other schools. Representing Virginia will be a couple of pro-ready standouts, veterans who have recently earned starting spots and intriguing transfers. In year two of the Coach Tony Elliott era, his impact is more fully felt on the roster’s construction, warranting a closer look.
The Virginia football locker room became all the more unique beginning Wednesday. Darden graduate student Matt Ganyard — sporting No. 98 as a walk-on kicker — is officially the oldest player on the active roster by nearly 10 years. If he earns regular season snaps, he would be the third oldest player to ever play for a Power Five program. While perhaps a generalization in other circumstances, it is undoubtedly true that Ganyard has one of the most interesting stories of all Cavalier athletes.
Coming off of a season that resulted in a College World Series run, Virginia baseball’s talented roster had a number of MLB draft-eligible players ready to take the next steps in their playing careers. Ultimately, four Cavaliers were selected and now look to progress to “the show.”
The pair of juniors in catcher Kyle Teel and third baseman Jake Gelof will be forever synonymous with Cavalier baseball. The legendary duo combined for 114 wins, 424 hits and 76 home runs over the past three seasons. They are undoubtedly two of the all-time greatest in school history, as evidenced through the countless broken records each player owns.
No. 7 Virginia baseball clinched a berth to the College World Series over the weekend, marking its sixth appearance in Omaha, Neb. in program history. While the Cavaliers (50-13, 19-11 ACC) dominated the competition for most of the season, the path to compete for a national championship was not always certain. What at one point looked like a disappointing repeat of the 2022 season where Virginia could not overcome late season struggles and fell in the Regional round turned into exhilaration at Disharoon Park Sunday afternoon.
Virginia won its sixth men’s tennis national title in the last 11 years this weekend in Orlando, Fla., defeating heavyweight after heavyweight in the process. The runner-ups No. 3 Ohio State defeated the Cavaliers on two separate occasions back in February — winning 4-1 in Charlottesville and then 4-0 at the ITA National Team Indoors. The second loss to Ohio State on February 19th would be the final time the Cavaliers lost this season as Virginia turned its season around and dismantled the Buckeyes for the championship.
Game 1 – Virginia 5, Duke 17
Virginia football had a successful final day of the NFL Draft in terms of players receiving the opportunity to play professionally. All three prospects anticipated to sign deals with NFL teams — wide receivers Dontayvion Wicks and Keytaon Thompson and cornerback Anthony Johnson — were signed to contracts. Wicks was drafted 159th overall to the Green Bay Packers, while Thompson and Johnson signed undrafted free agent contracts with the Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints, respectively.
Football is won in the trenches. This is a common saying that almost any coach will reference, especially new Virginia offensive line coach Terry Heffernan. “The trenches” refers to the offensive and defensive line, arguably the most physical area of the game.
No. 7 Virginia baseball owns the nation’s longest home winning streak and are still undefeated at Disharoon Park after a three-game sweep of Miami. The Cavaliers (28-4, 11-4 ACC) started out hot last season as well, but the 2023 team has dominated the ACC at incredible levels with a .733 winning percentage in conference play factoring in this weekend’s wins over the Hurricanes (20-12, 8-7 ACC). The Cavaliers are playing dominant baseball with highlights aplenty heading into the second half of the season.
Game 1 – Virginia 3, Florida State 2
The dream for any college football player is to go on stage and hug NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — a classic sign they have been picked for the spring NFL draft. While there has been a lull in success for Virginia players over the past few years, 2023 looks to be a much more promising cycle for the Cavaliers. This year’s Virginia prospects heading to the pros have each taken unique paths to get to the NFL, but are flying under the radar in a talented crop of future NFL stars..
Though Virginia fans will have all eyes on its current squad heading into March Madness, the program is also working to establish longevity in a variety of ways. With the upcoming departure of graduate student guard Kihei Clark and potential NBA draft selection of junior guard Reece Beekman, Virginia basketball welcomed a new ball handler to its offense for the 2023-24 season. Next year’s impact guards are young, including current freshman Isaac McKneely and incoming freshman Elijah Gertrude. Thus, Coach Tony Bennett knew that adding a veteran guard was a priority.
Game 1 – Virginia 7, North Carolina 3
This weekend, Virginia baseball hosted Rhode Island in Charlottesville at Disharoon Park in a three-game series. The Cavaliers (11-0, 0-0 ACC) swept the Rams (3-6, 0-0 Atlantic 10), winning a doubleheader Saturday and completing the sweep with a Sunday afternoon victory.
Game 1 – Virginia 4, Columbia 1