Virginia lands top-ranked offensive lineman in FCS, Dayton’s Stevens, through portal

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Hiring Terry Heffernan as Virginia’s new offensive line coach has already paid dividends in the form of an expired addition to the Cavaliers O-Line.

Heffernan recruited Dayton guard Brian Stevens through the transfer portal and Stevens announced his commitment to UVA today. Heffernan played football at Dayton and graduated in 2003, which no doubt was a connection that led to finding and landing Stevens.

Stevens is a 6-foot-2, 290-pound lineman with two years of eligibility remaining, and could be a valuable addition to Virginia’s offensive line, which is going through a second transformation in two years. As a senior for the Flyers this past season, Stevens was the highest-graded offensive lineman in all of FCS football, according to Pro Football Focus.

PFF graded out Stevens at 86.5, well in front of No. 2 Omar Aigbedian of Montana State (84.4).

“I’m hyped to be announcing I am committing to the University of Virginia,” Stevens announced on Twitter. “The opportunity is indescribable and I can’t wait to get to work.”

The Dayton transfer visited UVA recently and was able to attend a spring practice and see Hefferman work out the Cavaliers’ offensive line.

While at Dayton last season, Stevens started all 11 games for the Flyers at guard and earned first-team All-Pioneer Football League honors, along with Academic All-District 5 team honors. He was a team captain.

In 2021, Stevens played in nine games at tackle, starting eight, and was winner of the Stan Kurdziel Memorial Trophy for best lineman on the team. He was an honorable mention All-PFL performer.

He is UVA’s seventh transfer player and the second offensive lineman, along with former Houston lineman Ugonna Nnanna, who was an early enrollee and is participating in spring drills.