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Lavel Davis, Chico Bennett suffer ACL injuries in spring drills

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Lavel Davis Jr.

Lavel Davis Jr. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Virginia’s football program received two blows to its roster during spring drills, Bronco Mendenhall announced during his presser on Monday afternoon.

Sophomore wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr., and junior linebacker Chico Bennett, Jr., a transfer from Georgia Tech, both suffered ACL injuries. The prognosis is that the earliest either could return would be sometime in November.

Davis burst onto the scene in his first collegiate game last season against Duke, when he posted more than 100 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns. He went on to make 20 catches for 515 yards, 25.8 yards per reception and five touchdowns.

Even though he played in only eight of UVA’s 10 games, Davis became one of only five FBS players since 2000 to post 500 or more receiving yards on 20 or fewer receptions.

Mendenhall had great plans for Davis in this year’s offense. When I asked him in early spring drills about how to expand Davis’ role this season, Mendenhall didn’t blink.

“Yeah, it’s pretty simple,” Mendenhall said. “Throw it to him more.

“As soon as he goes in, lines up, he’s already open because there’s no corners that are 6-foot-7 (Davis’ height), at least not that I know of. I thought he had a very strong first year, and so as he keeps going, that means more opportunities. Even if someone’s on him, really, so what? You know, they’re 5-10.”

On a better note concerning wide receivers, Mendenhall pointed out that senior Ra’Shaun Henry and sophomore Dontayvion Wicks are having outstanding springs. Henry came on strong at the end of last season, while Wicks, who was forecasted to have a strong 2020 season, suffered a season-ending injury in training camp. Wicks was a four-star recruit (by 247.com).

Mendenhall said that Davis is handling his injury well, having suffered a similar injury in high school.

Meanwhile, Bennett, who was working at linebacker for the Cavaliers, also suffered an ACL injury. He suffered an injury after seven games as a true freshman at Georgia Tech in 2019 and missed the rest of the season.

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