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ANDREW SHURTLEFF/THE DAILY PROGRESS Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall cheers on the team during the annual Orange and Blue spring football game at Scott Stadium.

Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall believes that only about one-third of the players on the Cavaliers’ current roster are ACC-caliber football players.

“I believe we have 27 ACC-caliber football players on our roster today,” Mendenhall said.

As the roster stands, there are 81 active players on Virginia’s football roster, meaning Mendenhall feels that two-thirds of the players on the roster, as presently constructed, are not ACC-caliber.

Mendenhall made the frank comment, and many more, during an unscheduled UVa Board of Visitors speech on Friday morning. He dubbed it a “State of the Program” address, noting that he preferred to relay his philosophy directly as opposed to going through, in his words, an unreliable press.

“You don’t have to rely on any other source,” Mendenhall said. “What I’ve learned in the world of college football and through the world of reporting is if all areas of the world and all topics are reported on as they are in sport, I would question the authenticity and sincerity and accuracy.”

Mendenhall spoke very candidly for about 27 minutes on a number of topics relating to his football team and his coaching philosophy.

Among them was his assertion that two-thirds of his roster isn’t of the same quality of the league they play in.

“We have 85 scholarships to give,” Mendenhall said. “That means that with our [recruiting class of 2018] arriving, that we think that number [of ACC-caliber players] will jump to the mid-40s this year.”

Mendenhall said by the time the 2019 recruiting class arrives, he’ll have “65-ish” ACC-caliber players.

“By the time [the Class of 2020] comes, we will have 85 ACC-caliber players,” Mendenhall said. “In the meantime, my job is that I relish and I’m lucky to have to show a trend upward through success and winning with the existing resources we have — through motivation, culture and innovation.”

Mendenhall also mentioned that his team played 17 freshmen last season, which was the fourth-most in the nation, he said. Mendenhall said he chose to honor the commitments of every player that was awarded a scholarship by former head coach Mike London, but that only one-third of those players remain with the program.

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Daily Progress reporter Ruth Serven contributed to this report.

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