Scattershooting: Bliss, Hodge, Zaccheaus, “Heath,” golf and golden nuggets

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: City of Basketball Love

Scattershooting around the sporting universe, while focusing on things orange and blue, over your morning coffee…

Virginia’s point guard of the future, commit Christian Bliss, was named to Peach Jam’s 10-man, first team of all-stars from the recent event in North Augusta, S.C. Playing for the PSA Cardinals out of New York, Bliss averaged 16.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals over six games last week.

Bliss’ top two performances included a 25-point outburst in a win over Drive Nation, and a 19-point game in a win over Team Thad.

Another Wahoo target, power forward Matthew Hodge, who is Bliss’ teammate on PSA Cardinals, had a pair of 10-point games in a win over Drive Nation and a loss to the Florida Rebels.

Hodge, by the way, announced Tuesday that he will make an official visit to Virginia on Sept. 21, the last of five visits he will take. The New Jersey 3-star has official visits scheduled for Penn State, ODU and Virginia Tech.

Zoom Zoom Zaccheaus

Former Virginia receiver Olamide Zaccheaus has spent the past several seasons building his resume with the Atlanta Falcons, but could be ready for his best season ever now that he’s a Philadelphia Eagle.

Even though Atlanta struggled with Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder at quarterback last season, Zaccheus still managed a 40-reception season for 533 yards and three touchdowns. Zaccheus has good size and good hands, plus a good skill-set that should help the Eagles offense. Keep your eye on him this fall.

Heath to the Hall

Former Pittsburgh Steelers coaching legend Dick LeBeau believes that former UVA tight end Heath Miller belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

LeBeau pointed out Miller during a recent podcast in Pittsburgh, talking about the 2005 Super Bowl championship team, which already has six members of that squad in Canton. Miller was a two-time Pro Bowler and a two-time Super Bowl champion with 592 catches for 6,569 yards and 45 touchdowns in 11 seasons. He was Ben Roethlisberger’s go-to guy, and ranks 15th all-time in receiving yards for an NFL tight end.

Miller has resided in Charlottesville since he retired from the Steelers.

Tee times

What are the most expensive golf course green fees in America?

  • 1. Shadow Creek, $1,000
  • 2. TPC Sawgrass, $650
  • 3. Pebble Beach, $625
  • 4. Wynn, $600
  • 5. Kiawah, $600
  • 6. Whistling Straits, $555
  • 7. Augusta National, $525
  • 8. Pinehurst No. 2, $495.

Bandon Dunes is $375, sister course Pacific Dunes (actually ranked higher) is $345. Pine Valley wasn’t listed.

Golden nuggets

  • Virginia’s home opener at Scott Stadium this September will be against neighboring JMU, which announced it has sold all of its own home season tickets, a total of 8,718, the most in program history.
  • Former Monticello High School star quarterback Mike Brown, who also starred at Liberty and played in the NFL, was recently appointed as associate head coach and wide receivers coach at Wisconsin. Brown formerly coached under Luke Fickell at Cincinnati, and followed Fickell to Wisconsin.
  • William & Mary, which will play at Virginia this season and is coached by former UVA head coach Mike London, is ranked No. 4 nationally among FCS schools in Lindy’s College Football Preview. In Lindy’s FBS preseason rankings, Virginia is ranked No. 76 in the nation, JMU No. 98.
  • Former Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who said that he’s ready to coach again after stepping down after the 2021 season, is being mentioned as a possible candidate for the Northwestern job after the school fired Pat Fitzgerald this week.
  • If you want more inside scoop and entertainment on UVA sports, check out our podcasts, which can be found on this website, also at Augusta Free Press online and your favorite podcast platform. We’re also now on YouTube. Just say, “Alexa, give me the Jerry Ratcliffe Show.” Many of you have told me you don’t know how to do podcasts, but it’s simple. Just go to our website, look for the podcast, click on it and then just click on the “play” arrow and enjoy. We have some great guests coming up.
  • We are using the month of July to build our advertising base, so if you would like to sponsor, please email me at: We could certainly use your support because travel to road games has become very expensive.