Virginia football seems to be racking up great victories without playing a single game this offseason.
The Cavaliers picked up one of the biggest steals in school history when former Alabama quarterback Phillip Sims decided to transfer closer to home and play for the Virginia Cavaliers.
Sims, a standout at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, joins former Oscar Smith teammates Tim Smith at wide receiver and Perry Jones at running back. They also will be joined by star wide receiver Zack Woods in 2013.
Well, Oscar Smith may have one more alumnus on his way to Charlottesville before it is all said and done.
Wide receiver Quinta Funderburk officially requested and received a transfer from the University of Arkansas this week, making him one of the most sought-after prospects in college football.
Funderburk did not play with the Razorbacks last season, but his 6'4'' frame and impressive high school numbers help justify the 14 scholarship offers he had his senior year of high school.
So, the question becomes, who better to throw him the deep passes to make him a superstar at the collegiate level than the player he worked alongside in high school?
Surely Funderburk has Virginia on his radar now that the news has been released about Phillip Sims becoming a Cavalier. Granted, the young wideout would have to sit out a season, but he could be part of a wide receiver trio that could give the Cavaliers one of the scariest passing games in the ACC in 2013.
Virginia enters 2012 with numerous wide receivers, but no certifiable stars.
The speedy Tim Smith seemed to step up his game in his sophomore season, coming off a bad injury in 2010. With 565 yards and three touchdowns, Smith provided a good target and made some clutch plays.
However, he needs to take that step forward to be the No. 1 option given the graduation of the reliable Kris Burd.
Following Smith are two rising sophomore prodigies in Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell. Much was expected of these true freshmen, but despite the numerous opportunities afforded to them, they experienced growing pains.
In fact, the players with the third and fourth most reception yards for the Cavaliers in 2011 were a running back and a fullback.
With more familiarity with the offense and a solid quarterback under center, it will be interesting to see how much these two progress.
More importantly, the recent acquisition of Sims and the potential courting of Funderburk may represent a new era in Virginia football.
For most of this century, Virginia has been built around defense—keep the game close, and the big bruisers will find a way to win.
The Cavalier offense has stayed rather vanilla, with a power running game and a conservative game-manager quarterback who could dink and dunk the ball down the field.
Virginia found success with this strategy with Matt Schaub, but the Cavaliers will be facing a total makeover if Sims starts under center in 2012.
Given the woes in the Cavalier secondary, an offense-first philosophy may turn out to be the new policy. Outscoring opponents may be a dangerous way to live, but last time I checked, it seems to work out for teams like Oregon, Oklahoma State and Stanford, among others.
Virginia football is turning the page toward a more exciting product, and fans are excited.
If Funderburk joins his Oscar Smith brethren, that noise could reach a fever pitch.
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