By Jeff White
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Trey Womack and Mike Parker are in.
Javaris Brown, Lamar Milstead and Tory Allen-Ford are out, as are Quintin Hunter and Javanti Sparrow.
Keith Payne, Raynard Horne and Darnell Carter? Still to be determined.
That was the word Friday afternoon from Mike London. As the start of London’s first season as Virginia’s football coach approaches, attrition is reshaping his roster.
In March, reserve quarterback Riko Smalls left the team and started looking for a new school. Brown (wide receiver) and Allen-Ford (defensive end) will transfer elsewhere, too.
Milstead, a backup offensive tackle, has withdrawn from UVa for personal reasons, London said, and “Hunter has decided not to pursue a football career here.”
Sparrow, a cornerback who was in for 23 plays, all on special teams, as a true freshman in 2009, will not be enrolled at UVa in the fall. London, citing privacy laws, declined to elaborate but said Sparrow hopes to return to the University in 2011.
Hunter, who played in nine games as a true freshman last year, worked at quarterback and wideout for the Cavaliers. But the former Orange County High School star decided his heart wasn’t in football, London said.
“That was a surprise,” London said. “But it had nothing to do with football, he said. It just had something to do with feeling he was playing football for the wrong reasons instead of playing it because he wanted to play it.”
London, who had two stints at UVa as an assistant under Al Groh, replaced Groh as head coach in December.
At that time, there was no guarantee that Womack (safety), Parker (cornerback), Payne (tailback), Horne (tailback) or Carter (linebacker) would be with the Wahoos this fall. Payne, in fact, had quit the team on the eve of the 2009 season, frustrated by his role in the offense.
London allowed the rising fifth-year seniors to participate in spring practice, however, and told them he would evaluate their performances in the classroom and on the field and then decide if they would be on the team this fall.
Womack and Parker excelled academically this spring, London said, and they’re assured spots on the roster.
The other three, London said, are “in situations where they still have not fulfilled all the academic obligations that I, the school and the NCAA have put on them. They’re going through the process of going to summer school to get the grade or the GPA or satisfy the hours requirement.”
If they do so, London said, “then they’ll be back. If not, then they won’t be back.”
The football team’s cumulative and second-semester grade-point averages were its best in 10 years, London said, and that’s evidence that “a lot of guys here are buying into it.”
Sophomores Perry Jones and Corey Lillard are two such players, London said.
“My personal belief is, if I can I trust you over there” — in the classroom — “then I can I trust you over here,” London said at the McCue Center.
“It’s easy when you’re over here, because you have people looking at you, when you’re lifting, when you’re eating, when you’re practicing. But when you’re over there, if you can do the things in the classroom when people aren’t looking at you, and you’ve got to turn a paper in and you set aside study hours and utilize the academic support system, that shows me something.”
The attrition makes London’s job more challenging in some ways, but it’s not unexpected after a coaching change. And in the long run, it may not be a bad thing.
“Guys are going to have to do it the way I want to get it done,” London said. “I’ve heard some players say, ‘You guys are too hard on us.’
“Too hard on you? What do you mean? You want to just go do your own thing, wake up, not go to school, not go to class and come over and go to practice? You think that you’re entitled to things? You’re not entitled to anything.
“We’ll end up recruiting the kind of guys that we want, that have the makeup we want. As I tell the team, you do it right on the field, off the field, in the community, then you’re going to be around here. If not, then you won’t be part of the program.”
Two players who came to UVa as walk-ons — juniors Robert Randolph and Matt Snyder — have been awarded scholarships, London said.
Randolph made 17 of 19 field-goal attempts in 2009, and Snyder distinguished himself on special teams.
Snyder is also a wideout, a position at which, with Brown and Hunter gone, the ‘Hoos no longer are as deep.
Still, London said, “I got enough to get through. I think I have enough with Tim Smith and Dontrelle Inman, who’s running as fast as he’s ever run before, Kris Burd, Jared Green, Matt Snyder, Bobby Smith. They’re a group of guys right there that you can win with.”