Virginia to honor former players killed in shooting at home opener vs. JMU on Saturday

Virginia to honor former players killed in shooting at home opener vs. JMU on Saturday

Ryan Young

The “UVA Strong” game will honor Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia

The “UVA Strong” game will honor Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Virginia football will honor three former players who were killed in a shooting on campus last year in a pregame ceremony ahead of the Cavaliers’ home opener next week.

Virginia will honor Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry in the program’s game against James Madison at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville. The game, being dubbed the “UVA Strong” game, is the team’s first home game since November 12, 2022 — which is one day before the three players were killed and two others were injured in the shooting.

The first 35,000 fans who attend the game will receive a special orange T-shirt, and everyone is encouraged to wear orange. The north end zone at the stadium will feature the UVA Strong logo with the players’ numbers, and all three of their names will be painted on the field outline.

Former Virginia student Christopher Jones Jr. allegedly shot and killed the three football players and injured two others in the shooting on campus last fall. Jones and the victims were on a class field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C., that day, and had just arrived back in campus on a bus when the shooting broke out.

Virginia running back Mike Hollins was shot in the incident, but he survived. He returned to the field last week in the Cavaliers’ season opener against Tennessee and had three carries and a reception in the 49-13 loss. He led the team out of the tunnel in Knoxville.

Hollins opened up about the incident about a month later. He went into surgery right away, and didn’t learn that his three teammates had died until two days later.

“I felt him hit me in my back,” Hollins said in an emotional interview in December. “But I just knew I wasn’t going down without a fight. I found a pre-med student, and that was God again. She was there to help me. She kept me calm, kept my breathing under control, was checking my pulse until the ambulance came … I think I got hit in the small intestine, kidney, and they were trying to see if it damaged my bladder. By the grace of God, it missed my spine by like, two centimeters or something like that.”

The Cavaliers canceled the rest of their season after the shooting last fall. Jones was charged with three counts of second-degree murder, five counts of the use of a firearm in a first felony offense and two counts of malicious wounding. His case is due to go in front of a grand jury next month.

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