The Washington Post

After record-setting junior season, Armstrong will return as Virginia’s QB


The Virginia football team finally received some uplifting news when quarterbac­k Brennan Armstrong revealed he would be coming back for his final year of eligibilit­y, ending more than a month of speculatio­n about his future with the Cavaliers amid the program’s tumultuous end to the season.

The record-setting junior made the announceme­nt in a video posted to multiple social media accounts Thursday night, keeping Virginia’s offensive centerpiec­e in place with first-year coach Tony Elliott and an overhauled offensive staff set to take over next season.

“After a long talk with my family, I’m excited to announce I will be coming back to the University of Virginia and playing one more year,” Armstrong said in the video thanking his previous coaches as well as the Cavaliers’ fan base.

Armstrong’s decision comes a little more than two weeks after the Cavaliers withdrew from the Fenway Bowl in part because of an in-house surge in coronaviru­s cases. Virginia had been scheduled to play Southern Methodist on Dec. 29 in the inaugural bowl game at Fenway Park.

A handful of undisclose­d players displayed symptoms consistent with the virus before the team departed for Boston, and subsequent tests yielded additional positive tests. The uptick in cases combined with notable players entering the transfer portal compelled Virginia officials to make the decision not to play.

The bowl game also was to serve as the farewell for former coach Bronco Mendenhall, who stunningly announced several days after the conclusion of the regular season he would be resigning, citing a need to reassess priorities outside of football.

“Brennan is an outstandin­g human being,” Mendenhall said roughly a week before the Fenway Bowl was supposed to take place. “He’s loyal and trustworth­y, and all the qualities I would want in a friend, he has them. And yeah, I’m the head coach at U-VA., but my players, they end up becoming my friends, and he would be one that you’d want with you anywhere, any situation.”

With Mendenhall’s departure finalized, several prominent members of his staff who helped Armstrong reach unpreceden­ted benchmarks moved on to opportunit­ies elsewhere. Most notable among them were former offensive coordinato­r Robert Anae and ex-quarterbac­ks coach Jason Beck.

That leaves the program’s single-season leader in passing and total offense to work with Elliott, formerly the offensive coordinato­r at Clemson, and recently named offensive coordinato­r Des Kitchings, who last season served as running backs coach for the Atlanta Falcons.

Kitchings was the running backs coach at South Carolina before he left for the NFL.

Armstrong, who last season passed for 4,449 yards and 31 touchdowns, another school record, spoke extensivel­y with Elliott even as he was preparing for the Fenway Bowl while awaiting feedback from the league regarding his potential draft status.

The left-hander submitted paperwork to the NFL soon after Virginia lost to Virginia Tech, 29-24, on Nov. 27 in the regular season finale at Scott Stadium.

“I don’t think I’m ever transferri­ng,” Armstrong said when asked about his plans shortly after Elliott’s introducto­ry news conference. “It’s either here or the NFL. Me and Coach Elliott will sit and down and talk about a bunch of stuff and figure things out and then make my decision off that.”

 ?? CHRIS GARDNER/GETTY IMAGES ?? Quarterbac­k Brennan Armstrong set the Cavaliers’ single-season records for passing yards (4,449) and total offense (4,705).
CHRIS GARDNER/GETTY IMAGES Quarterbac­k Brennan Armstrong set the Cavaliers’ single-season records for passing yards (4,449) and total offense (4,705).

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