TE Tom Santi

2006 Statistics

Coach: Al Groh
42-33, 6 years
2006 Record: 5-7
at Pittsburgh LOST 13-38
at Georgia Tech LOST 7-24
at Duke WON 37-0
at East Carolina LOST 21-31
at Florida State LOST 0-33
at Virginia Tech LOST 0-17

2006 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2007 Outlook

In 2006, alum Al Groh suffered only the second losing campaign of his six year tenure here as head coach (42-33). Their point production pattern in ’06 – scoring 13 or less in their first four games, then going over 20 points the next four, and finally closing out with four games of 17 or less points (including two shutouts) – ominously depicted their inability to find any kind of offensive groove. But when you allow an average of just under 18 points, as UVA did, you will win nearly half the time (5-7), even when your team only averages a little over 15 themselves. So, like at Florida State, the coaches’ son as his father’s offensive coordinator was under scrutiny. But the younger Groh is nothing like the younger Bowden – as a record-setting Cavalier QB, Groh isn’t just another nepotistic hire. The consensus reached after the staff evaluated why the offense finished 113th in yardage and 110th in scoring was a call for a system change, not for a new coordinator. Keeping their new hand close to their vest, Groh showed little of the new offense this spring. We know there will be more throws out of the shotgun to compliment creative three-plus-receiver sets, but we can’t assuredly say it means the spread will now be in vogue here. Though he’s the school’s freshman passing record holder, tentative QB starter Jameel Sewell hasn’t thrived in his off-field command of the new system…coupled with losing their only proven receiver for the season, coach Mike’s work is cut out. But the entire OL is back, and along with 10 starters returning on the Wahoo’s No.17 D, there is much to buoy the team’s prospects. The first three games feature beatable foes, offering Groh’s guys a breaking-in period for the new-look offense. Then, the two home tilts that follow to close September will reveal areas still needing work - they had better fix the problem areas before their season-defining five-game ACC slew occurs. That gauntlet starts October 20th, with a trip to College Park, and ends with conference champ Wake Forest at home, followed by a trip to (resurgent) Miami and then in-state nemesis Tech to close. Unlike last year, this team actually has a chance to surprise many who won’t see them coming (like Wake Forest did). But the needed developments at QB and receiver will probably keep UVA from reaching as far as this much talent potentially could. A ten-win season and a place in the final top 25 should be their modest goals. Parity in their ever-toughening league means there is a huge range for where this team could eventually land, but you can expect the Orange-and-Blue to be heard singing the “Good Old Song” a lot more than they ever did in ‘06.

Projected 2007 record: 6-6
QB - 3 DL - 4
RB - 2.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 2 DB - 3.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Jameel Sewell, 143-247-6, 1342 yds., 5 TD

Rushing: Jameel Sewell, 95 att., 200 yds., 4 TD

Receiving: Kevin Ogletree, 52 rec., 582 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Chris Gould, 11-19 FG, 18-18 PAT, 51 pts.

Punting: Chris Gould, 56 punts, 38.4 avg.

Kicking: Chris Gould, 11-19 FG, 18-18 PAT, 51 pts.

Tackles: Jon Copper, 81 tot., 39 solo

Sacks: Jeffrey Fitzgerald, 5.5 sacks

Interceptions: Jeffrey Fitzgerald, 2 for 3 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Cedric Peerman, 19 ret., 27.3 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Mike Brown, 14 ret., 9.6 avg., 0 TD


DB Nate Lyles
OFFENSE: Christian Olsen-QB, Kevin McCabe-QB, Jason Snelling-TB, Fontel Mines-WR, Deyon Williams-WR, Emmanuel Byers-WR
DEFENSE: Marcus Hamilton-CB, Tony Franklin-S

The new wrinkles being kept under wraps by the coaches Groh (Al’s son Mike is the coordinator and QB coach) have many excited for more production after the Cavs finished 113th in total offense. Groh’s visits to other programs during the offseason were definitely for a purpose, though extra receivers and QBs working out of shotgun formations is all we can guarantee. New plans may be promising, but executing those plans with an underclassman at the helm and their top receiver likely out for the season becomes a daunting task. Offseason wrist surgery kept last year’s freshman record-setting QB, Jameel Sewell, out of spring drills – the good news for Sewell, but bad news for the younger Groh, is that the backups in camp didn’t come close to threatening for the Richmond-native’s starting status. Sewell has the size and speed to do well. Still, it has been his marginal ability to prepare off the field that keeps a slim chance for incoming frosh Peter Lalich to possibly get reps right away. At this juncture, the No.5 pro-style prospect represents the best hope for the program’s future, and with great feet and a 6-5, 237lb. build, something will have to give if Lalich is to be redshirted, which we doubt. These two will face off in August; you can bet the winner will be on a short leash so that the new system can be maximized by the top candidate. The other “situation” – finding receivers for their more aggressive play calling – went south when last year’s top guy (Ogletree) went down in early spring with a torn knee. Tough and big, Maurice Covington now has huge expectations as the leading returning receiver (six catches). Ex-track champion Chris Dalton has impressed enough this spring to tentatively occupy the other starting slot, and speedy Chris Gorham being moved back to offense (from starting at CB) has worked well so far. How all-around athlete Mikell Simpson fits into things remains guarded information, but with only one other letterman returning (besides those listed above), the corps will rely on unknown/undeveloped walk-ons (Jobe, Koch) and true freshmen (Burd, Green, Milien) to step up if Virginia is to take this offense anywhere near its potential. Expect hulking TEs Tom Santi and Jonathan Stupar to augment any shortcomings with their proven snarling capacities. Junior Cedric Peerman is ready for the mantle as the team’s top tailback. The state’s 100 meter prep sprint champ (junior and senior year) is tough between the tackles while having soft hands, as is huge RS frosh Keith Payne. Payne’s size-speed combo has to have a place in the new scheme, especially in one-back sets where blocking is paramount. Fullback Rashawn Jackson could be the odd man out, though the little-used position should have a rebirth if production is needed. Still, it all hinges on the performance of their fully-returning line – all of the starters back have to equal better overall results. Right Tackle Will Barker was a second-team Freshman All-American, and the left-handed Sewell will find better protection with his maturity. It may have been left tackle Eugene Monroe who garnered five stars out of high school, but it was classmate Branden Albert who earned all-ACC honors first from his guard slot. Factor in the solidity and senior leadership supplied by guard Ian Yates-Cunningham and center Jordy Lipsey, and you get a line that should improve by leaps and bounds if their collective raw talent can be maximized in what’s to come. We think some version of a spread attack will be the outcome of the revampings, and it will only take the right set of receivers and a steady QB to make this offense again feared.


OG Branden Albert


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Jameel Sewell-So (6-3, 219) Scott Deke-Jr (6-3, 216)
Marc Verica-Fr (6-2, 190)
FB Rashawn Jackson-So (6-1, 254) Josh Zidenberg-Sr (6-0, 213)
TB Cedric Peerman-Jr (5-10, 205) Keith Payne-Fr (6-3, 243)
Raynard Horne-Fr (6-0, 203)
WR Maurice Covington-Jr (6-4, 215) Kevin Ogletree-Jr (6-2, 189) (inj.)
WR Chris Dalton-Fr (6-2, 172) Chris Gorham-Sr (6-0, 193)
TE Tom Santi-Sr (6-5, 250) Jonathan Stupar-Sr (6-3, 254)
John Phillips-Jr (6-6, 257)
OT Eugene Monroe-Jr (6-6, 315) Zak Stair-Jr (6-6, 298)
OG Branden Albert-Jr (6-7, 315) Gordie Sammis-Sr (6-4, 289)
C Jordy Lipsey-Sr (6-3, 280) ..
OG Ian-Yates Cunningham-Sr (6-3, 290) Patrick Slebonick-So (6-5, 289)
OT Will Barker-So (6-7, 306) ..
K Chris Gould-Sr (6-1, 204) Noah Greenbaum-Sr (5-10, 189)



The prognosis for the Cavalier defense looks great, especially since only two departures from the secondary need attention. Already the 41st-ranked run stopping unit, the entire front seven back means improvements will be seen in this area. As just a freshman, Jeff Fitzgerald led the team in sacks and tackles-for-loss while finishing third in total tackles. Like all-conference bookend senior Chris Long, guys that size shouldn’t be able to move so fluently…but that’s why the 3-4 here works. Allen Billyk and Nate Collins are revolving nose tackles who stay fresh and therefore garner double-teams most of the time. Depth up front is experienced and hungry to prove they should start, and this year’s class brings even more hybrid, 280-something-pound, interchangeable linemen to bolster this strength. Two four-star linebacking recruits pump up an already-deep, well-sized corps that has great closing speed throughout its ranks. Roanoke-native John Cooper, a state power-lifting record-holder, and ex-DE-TE Antonio Appleby predictably led the team in tackles from their inside positions, but experience behind them is thin. Outside, bigman Clint Sintim, like ex-four-star senior DE Olu Hall (turned down Ohio State and Virginia Tech), is an excellent fourth lineman when needed – the Woodbride (Gar-Field)-product is a former-two-way star whose athletic prowess keeps his side blanketed all the way to the hash-marks. Jermaine Dias has enough speed to match up evenly with most WRs, so underneath coverage will again be tight. This LB group looks to be special and will be the backbone of everything that succeeds defensively. Byron Glaspy, a former walk-on engineering student who wasn’t recruited at all, started the last 11 games of 2006 at safety and proved his worth by finishing sixth in tackles. Nate Lyles and Jamal Jackson bring senior leadership to the deep middle, and both know how to keep the play in front of them and defenders out of the endzone. 6’2 senior corner Chris Cook is too good to see many balls come his way, so well-groomed Mike Brown will likely get picked on until the former sprinter proves to opposing coordinators why he has played in every game since his true freshman season (2005). Vic Hall is the likely nickel, and this former offensive prep record-holder has DC Mike London salivating over his huge, unrealized upside. This year’s strong recruiting efforts also grace the secondary with two four-star prospects, so improvements to the Cav’s No.15 pass defense are also expected. This team allowed only 18 points per game in 2006, and other numbers, like how they allowed foes to convert a stingy 32% of their third-down efforts, are also likely to go down as this unit tightens even more.


DE Chris Long


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald-So (6-3, 279) Alex Field-Jr (6-7, 288)
NT Allen Billyk-Sr (6-4, 287) Nate Collins-So (6-2, 281)
DE Chris Long-Sr (6-4, 284) Kevin Crawford-So (6-3, 284)
OLB Jermaine Dias-Sr (6-1, 237) John Bivens-Fr (6-2, 213)
ILB Antonio Appleby-Jr (6-4, 248) Darren Childs-So (6-1, 244)
ILB Jon Copper-Jr (6-0, 232) Darnell Carter-Fr (6-3, 244)
OLB Clint Sintim-Jr (6-3, 256) Olu Hall-So (6-3, 230)
CB Chris Cook-Jr (6-2, 204) Trey Womack-Fr (5-11, 177)
Mike Parker-Fr (6-2, 190)
CB Mike Brown-Jr (5-9, 180) Vic Hall-So (5-9, 184)
S Byron Glaspy-Jr (5-11, 203) Brandon Woods-So (6-2, 214)
S Nate Lyles-Sr (6-0, 203) Jamaal Jackson-Sr (6-3, 212)
P Chris Gould-Sr (6-1, 204) Ryan Weigand-Sr (6-2, 181)




Chris Gould as a placekicker was perfect from inside the 40 (7-for-7), but in going a mere 4-for-12 from beyond that range, coaches have to consider other options when the Cavs are outside of the opponent’s 30. Accordingly, the senior is not a ‘shoe in’ and the slot remains open until fall. As a punter, Gould placed over half of his tries inside the 20 and nearly 30% of them were fair caught. Cedric Peerman and Mike Brown are capable of huge things from their given return spots, and along with Gould, UVA should win a majority of their field position battles.