UVA cornerback Darrius Bratton (Roanoke, Va.) returns in 2020 after missing all of 2019 with an injury. The junior has appeared in 23 career games and started five games in 2018 where he made 16 tackles and broke up seven passes, helping UVA go 8-5 and win the Belk Bowl.
Q: You missed the 2019 season with an injury you suffered in preseason camp. How has your rehab gone and what has the process been like being away from Charlottesville?
Bratton: Rehab has been great. The process has been interesting, but it has been rewarding. I have also been able to focus on my body.
Q: What were your biggest gains from watching the 2019 season?
Bratton: My best gains have been watching the season and being able to increase my football knowledge and being able to enhance my mental game.
Q: There will be a point this summer where the team will get to come back to Charlottesville. What are you looking forward to the most about the return?
Bratton: I am looking forward to getting together and bonding with my teammates and getting back to work. I’m ready to achieve the goals that we want to achieve this year.
Q: Starting opposite of Bryce Hall in 2018 for a good part of the season and later being sidelined with him last year, were there any intangibles you picked up from him that you think will benefit you heading into 2020?
Bratton: Bryce was a big help in helping me pick apart offensive schemes and film study.
Q: What are some 2020 goals the secondary wants to achieve in 2020?
Bratton: We want to be the best secondary in the country and prove that we are a dominant defense.
Q: How have you gotten work in during the quarantine? Do you have any unique ways to work on your strength training or footwork drills?
Bratton: It’s been difficult finding gyms during the quarantine. I was fortunate enough to find one at home, so I work on strength in the mornings. In the afternoons I go to a local field and work on footwork drills and speed.
Q: What has this experience been like for you?
Bratton: It has been really hard, but it’s been interesting learning more about myself as a player and as a team. I have really grown from this experience and have learned to value my teammates, coaches and athletic trainers that I have back at school. Finding ways to maintain rehab and workouts on my own has been a task at hand, but it has taught me time management and balance.
Q: How do you create a routine while being at home?
Bratton: I been prioritizing what I need to get done with football and creating a plan to get it done while balancing time with family, friends and school.
Q: How do you stay motivated to train on your own?
Bratton: I reflect on my “why” a lot, and spend time understanding my goals and what I want to accomplish. If I want to be great, I know that I have to stay focused even during hard times.
Q: We understand you are a pretty good bowler. You have any unique tricks to the trade? How often do you bowl while in Charlottesville and has it been hard under quarantine to not be able to get to the lanes?
Bratton: I have a couple of tricks that I learned from my grandmother, but I can’t disclose that information. I haven’t really been able to bowl in Charlottesville because of my busy schedule.
Q: Have you been binge-watching any shows or movies, if so – what has been your favorite?
Bratton: I’ve been watching a couple of movies since quarantine. My favorite has been 13th on Netflix because of the information it gives on the oppression of black lives in America since slavery.
Q: One word to describe your secondary coach and defensive coordinator Nick Howell.
Q: What has been your most memorable game the past few seasons and why?
Bratton: The Belk Bowl win over South Carolina because it was the start of the great seasons ahead.
Q: Since you have been home, what has been your favorite non-football related, not-school related activity that you have been able enjoy with your family?
Bratton: Playing cards and games with my family.
Q: To close, while you have been at home, what has been your go-to meal?
Bratton: Grilled steak, baked potato and collard greens.
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