Seeing the writing on Virginia’s depth chart wall, Nick Johns has decided to take his leave of Charlottesville.
As more and more kids are doing these days — especially the cool ones — Johns took to Twitter to announce that he has decided to leave the Cavaliers football program and transfer to an undetermined elsewhere. According to the quarterback, he was given an unrestricted release from his UVa. scholarship.
Johns, who is not related to returning Cavalier starting quarterback Matt Johns, was a three-star member of UVa.’s 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 19 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the District of Columbia. As he didn’t see the field as a true freshman, Johns’ main claim to fame during his brief time with the Cavaliers was a driving while intoxicated charged he accrued last August.
With Matt Johns and Connor Brewer, a Texas/Arizona transfer, in a dead-heat for the starting job exiting the spring, and former East Carolina starter Kurt Benkert added as a graduate transfer over the weekend, Nick Johns’ decision to leave for a better shot at playing time is understandable.
On April 25, East Carolina announced that Kurt Benkert had decided to transfer out of the Pirates football program. Less than a week later, the quarterback has found himself a new football home.
On Twitter Sunday afternoon, Benkert confirmed that he will be enrolling at Virginia and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Cavaliers. Beckert also acknowledged his decision in a text message to 247Sports.com.
“I’m really excited to be here,” Beckert said in a portion of the brief text.
As Beckert is headed to UVa. as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Hoos immediately in 2016. Not only that, but he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Beckert was named the Pirates’ starter in early August of 2015, but sustained a right knee injury a couple of weeks later that knocked him out for the entire season. In Charlottesville, Beckert will join a competition that includes returning starter Matt Johns and Texas/Arizona transfer Connor Brewer.
Bronco Mendenhall had the luxury of having some stable quarterback options to work with running his offense at BYU, but in his first season at Virginia, he will see a quarterback competition continue after the spring. As is typically the case at a number of college football programs once the spring season concludes, there is as much uncertainty at the quarterback situation as any at Virginia.
“Our quarterback situation right now has not revealed itself,” said offensive coordinator Robert Anae, according to The Free Lance-Star. “So we’re going to continue to go into fall camp, and it may take all of fall camp before we get to the bottom of it.”
The two main competitors for the starting job for the Cavaliers are Matt Johns and Connor Brewer. Johns handled the majority of the offensive responsibilities last season, leading the offense with mixed results. Johns opened the spring as Virginia’s first-string quarterback but wrapped up with him seeing split duties with Brewer, a former Texas Longhorn and Arizona Wildcat.
“Matt was the returning starter and he started practice that way, taking the first reps,” said quarterbacks coach Jason Beck. “But then as we went on, Connor was playing really well. So we just split up the reps, made an even competition and they went after it every day that way.”
Each quarterback has their strengths and weaknesses depending on the style of offensive play calling, so whichever style ends up being the way Mendenhall and the Virginia staff choose to roll with could determine which player gets the nod. Brewer could be more of an ideal fit if Virginia chooses to take to the air with a more pass-heavy attack, but Johns could be the go-to guy should the Cavaliers look to keep things a bit more balanced and grounded if he can improve his decision-making and cut down on turnovers.
Virginia’s first game of the 2016 season is at home against FCS Richmond, which could be an opportunity to give each quarterback a live audition in a real game situation.
Jared Cohen may have left North Carolina, but he’ll remain in the ACC.
On Twitter Wednesday evening, the offensive lineman revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Virginia. Because Cohen sat out the 2015 season, he will be eligible to play for the Cavaliers immediately in 2016. He will have three years of eligibility remaining, including the 2016 season.
Cohen had whittled his potential transfer destinations down to UVa. and Louisville before selecting the Cavaliers.
Cohen had played in all 13 games as a true freshman with the Tar Heels, starting two of those contests. Shortly before the start of summer camp last year, however, Cohen abruptly left the team and didn’t return.
In a tweet posted in late October, Cohen explained that he “felt like the school and myself didn’t fit for various reasons.” He also acknowledged that he “will be searching for a new school to call home and represent on the gridiron.”
Get out your Sharpies and prepare to mark your calendars accordingly.
Way back in March of 2013, BYU and Virginia announced a future home-and-home series between the two football programs in 2019 (Charlottesville) and 2020 (Provo); the latter game was subsequently moved to 2023. Now, UVa. announced in a press release, multiple tweaks have been made to that series.
From the school’s release:
The game between the Cavaliers and Cougars originally scheduled for 2019 in Charlottesville has been moved to 2021 and will be played in Provo. The 2023 game originally scheduled for Provo will be played in Charlottesville.
Additionally, UVa. announced a future game has been tacked on as well — in Provo during the 2025 season.
The teams have met five times previously in football, with the Cavaliers holding a 3-2 edge in the mini-series. The two teams recently fulfilled a previous home-and-home agreement, with the home teams winning in 2013 (Charlottesville) and 2014 (Provo).