Virginia tailback Mike Hollins, who survived a gunshot wound to his stomach in the November shooting attack that killed three teammates — Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler — got the first touch of the Cavaliers’ spring game Saturday to a standing ovation.
Hollins rushed for 7 yards up the middle to cheers from supporters at Scott Stadium. He later scored a 1-yard touchdown into an end zone painted to memorialize his fallen teammates.
Hollins, who had 11 carries for 40 yards in the first half of the spring game, patted the ground and celebrated the score.
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Virginia coach Tony Elliott has tried to find a delicate balance between honoring the memory of the three former players that were killed in the Nov. 13 shooting while pushing his team to move forward this spring. Saturday’s spring game featured a good bit of both.
Hollins spent a week in the hospital after he had been wounded while running back toward the bus where his teammates had been shot, according to his mother. Virginia canceled its final two games of the 2022 season, and Saturday’s spring game marked the first time the Cavaliers played in front of fans since the deaths of Davis, Perry and Chandler.
Hollins has practiced throughout the spring and said he never had any intention of leaving UVA following the shooting.
“I could have left, I could have transferred, but I think of that as sweeping things under the rug and not handling the situation as best as I could,” Hollins said last month. “The best place for me to move forward — not move on, but move forward — is in Charlottesville with the people who shared that experience with me.
“No one across the country feels the way we feel here in the facility. No one in the country knows how I feel about the situation besides the people here in this facility, and I got an uneasy feeling when I thought about leaving. I’m glad I stayed because the support is what I need right now to get through.”