The Virginia football team is coming off its first eight-win season since 2011 and a dominant performance in the Belk Bowl against South Carolina. Add to that the Cavaliers’ highest-rated recruiting class since 2014 and it’s easy to see how expectations in Charlottesville are at a level unmatched by any UVa football team in the past decade.
The unofficial transition from summer to fall begins in a couple weeks with ACC Media Days in Charlotte, North Carolina. Leading up to the event, we’ll feature 19 UVa players to watch in 2019. Some are familiar names. Some are new. All are expected to play massive roles in Virginia’s continued rebuild this season.
Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall said in February that he wouldn’t consider adding graduate transfers unless they had two years of eligibility remaining and he was reasonably sure they could step into a position of need and contribute right away.
Some of that is a result of last season’s failed experiments on the defensive line, where neither of the Cavaliers’ transfers made an impact. Cassius Peat retired before the season due to a lingering medical issue, and Dylan Thompson didn’t see the field until the final few games of the season.
Number 16 on our list of 19 UVa players to watch in 2019 is one of this season’s three graduate transfers, former Arizona State wide receiver Terrell Chatman.
Tale of the tape
» Height: 6-4
» Weight: 190
» Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
» Last season: Chatman appeared in three games for Arizona State and caught just two passes last fall. He caught his only touchdown early of the season against UTSA and returned to record a catch in the Las Vegas Bowl.
» Depth at the position: Chatman’s arrival fills a need for a big-bodied wide receiver outside the hash marks. He’ll likely line up opposite 6-3 senior Hasise Dubois, and if Chatman lives up to the hype he received coming out of high school, it could mean fewer snaps for veterans Joe Reed and Terrell Jana and freshman Dorien Goddard.
» Number to know: 30. In 2014, ESPN ranked Chatman as the No. 30 overall wide receiver in the nation when he was coming out of Central High School in Louisiana.
» Outlook: One of the top areas the Cavaliers’ coaches want to see improvement in this season is red zone touchdowns. Last fall, Virginia converted just 28 of 54 red zone trips into seven points, and a target who knows how to use his body to create space and get vertical to high-point a pass can only make improving that number easier. If Chatman can evolve into a consistent red-zone threat, a few more running lanes may also open up down there for quarterback Bryce Perkins.
Chatman didn’t know much about the East Coast, much less the Cavaliers, when he announced he would transfer across the country to finish his college career, but he isn’t a stranger to everyone on Grounds.
He and Perkins did more than work on their timing on the field at Arizona State. They developed a relationship outside the hash marks as roommates. They never took the field together in a regular season game, but that connection could prove valuable on Saturdays this fall.
Chatman and UVa strength and conditioning coach Shawn Griswold also developed a relationship when Griswold was in the same position at Arizona State.
Virginia’s special teams coordinator Ricky Brumfield, regional scout Jordan Arcement and director of player personnel Justin Anderson have spearheaded the Cavaliers’ recent push into Louisiana. The result has been a pair of promising prospects in their 2019 recruiting class — RB Mike Hollins and WR Dontayvion Wicks — and two verbal commitments in the 2020 class — defensive backs Jadarius “Bud” Clark and Donovan Johnson.
Chatman said he didn’t know any of the Cavaliers’ coaches with Louisiana connections before committing to Virginia, but he’s part of UVa’s growing contingent of players from the Bayou State, and his connections there could end up bringing a few more prospects north to Charlottesville.