UVA unveils next season’s plans to honor 3 slain football players

Virginia football coach Tony Elliott unveiled this week how the Cavaliers plan to honor the lives of the three players who were shot and killed in November.

The numbers of each player — Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry — will be represented on a sticker that will be worn on the back of each player’s helmet next season.

Along with the decals, players who wear jersey numbers 1, 15 and 41 — the numbers worn by Chandler, Davis and Perry — will have special commemorative patches on their jerseys.

“For me, the patch was just about immediately showing our commitment to their legacies going forward,” Elliott said. “Whenever the jersey is on the field, those guys are going to be remembered, they’re going to be honored.”

Elliott said there will be other tributes throughout the year and into the future, but concrete plans haven’t been made yet.

He stressed that the patches are a symbol of the players’ legacy and a reminder to the current players about their own legacies.

“You never know when your legacy is gonna come into play,” Elliott said. “We all work our whole lives, right, to create a legacy, to build a legacy, and we never know when that time is gonna come when that legacy kicks in. So it’s just a subtle reminder to the guys, but then also a visible public reminder to everybody else of the lives that were taken from us, tragically.”

Seniors on the team will get a patch on their jersey as a “parting gift,” Elliott said. The patch will have all three of the former players’ jersey numbers, but Elliott said it will not be the prominent one that will be seen on the individual jerseys.

Chandler, Davis Jr. and Perry were killed by a fellow student after returning to campus from a class trip. UVA canceled its final two games of last season, at home against Coastal Carolina and at Virginia Tech.

The team addressed the shooting during its first meeting back, and Elliott said it was “refreshing and encouraging” to see how players responded.

“Obviously, we’re still in a space where we’re not moving on, we’re moving forward and we’re moving forward with, you know what has transpired within the program,” Elliott said. “To see the guys, the way that they’re working, you notice the attention to detail has a heightened sense of urgency related to that. With our accountability, just the way we’re tracking things, you’re starting to see guys with some more buy-in.”

Running back Mike Hollis was one of the additional two UVA students wounded in the shooting. Elliott said he is continuing to recover and that the team is monitoring his progression closely.

“Really, really proud of Mike and just the perseverance that shows to get back to where he is to be working out with the guys,” Elliott said. “Not a ton of restriction, still a little bit limited on some things, but we’re anticipating that he could be turned loose.”