Virginia adds Clemson TE, Eastern Michigan corner from portal

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: Clemson Athletics

Virginia’s activity in the transfer portal increased significantly over the weekend as the Cavaliers added four players to their roster over a four-day swing, including two players who announced their commitment via Twitter on Monday.

Former Clemson tight end Sage Ennis and former Eastern Michigan cornerback Kempton Shine both confirmed on Twitter that they had committed to Tony Elliott’s program, giving the Wahoos 11 new players from the transfer portal. Earlier in the weekend, UVA gained former New Mexico State quarterback Gavin Frakes and former Robert Morris cornerback Jermarian Jackson (see related stories on both players and all the UVA transfers on this site).

Elliott is very familiar with Ennis, who played four years at Clemson, including two years under Elliott, who was not only the Tigers’ offensive coordinator, but also tight ends coach.

Ennis is the third former Tiger to transfer to UVA, including defensive back Malcolm Greene and running back Kobe Pace.

Ennis had actually left Clemson and transferred to Florida A&M, which is located near Ennis’ hometown just outside Tallahassee, on Dec. 20. However, when A&M coach Willie Simmons exited recently to become running backs coach at Duke, Ennis began to look around.

Reconnecting with Elliott, he was invited to visit UVA. Ennis liked what he saw and decommitted from A&M on Sunday night and went to Twitter on Monday to announce that he was now a Cavalier.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end was more of a blocking tight end at Clemson, making his first career start in 2021 in the Tigers’ two-tight-end set against Florida State. One of his highlights came this past season when he hauled in an 18-yard pass — Clemson’s longest of the game — against No. 12 Notre Dame. He also had two catches against the Irish for 17 yards in 2022.

For his career, Ennis had six receptions for 77 yards in 41 games (449 snaps), including two starts. This past season as a redshirt junior, he had half of those career catches, 3 for 52 yards in 10 games, including one start (171 snaps). He suffered a knee injury against Georgia Tech on Nov. 11, which shut down his season.

In Florida at Lincoln High in Graceville, Ennis was a standout tight end, ranked No. 18 at his position in the recruiting class of 2020. He had double-digit offers before choosing Clemson.

Kempton Shine

Meanwhile, Shine visited both UVA and JMU over the weekend, and had also considered Tulsa before deciding Monday that Charlottesville is his new college home. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

Shine, a 6-foot, 184-pound corner, originally from Chicago (St. Rita HS), appeared in 45 games over five seasons at Eastern Michigan and posted 176 tackles (110 solo), 2 forced fumbles, an interception, 2 fumble recoveries, 27 passes broken up and 3.5 tackles for loss. This past season, he had 56 tackles (31 solo), 2.5 TFLs and 9 passes defended in 13 games. In ‘22, he had a team-high 12 passes defended and in ‘21, he started 10 games.

He was named to the Athlon Sports’ All-MAC second-team defense this past season.

Shine said he wasn’t interested in NIL packages or any of the trimmings, but rather just wanted an opportunity to play, which he should get at Virginia, which desperately needed to fill some roster spots in its secondary.

UVA had previously added Jermarian Jackson from Robert Morris and Kendren Smith from Penn to the defensive backfield via the portal.

In other Wahoo news, defensive tackle Olasunkonmi Agunloye, who suffered the freak accident — injuring both his knees and lost for the season during a sideline celebration — in Virginia’s season-opening loss to Tennessee, has entered the transfer portal. He played in 22 games at UVA and was part of the 2020 recruiting class.