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Nelson graduate picked up to play for Cavaliers

posted Nov 15, 2016, 11:40 AM by Kathy Hughes   [ updated Nov 15, 2016, 11:41 AM ]
Shifflett  Courtesy of Nelson County Times

The Cavaliers hooped and hollered.

Jerseys hung on the fence lining the University of Virginia football practice facility last Thursday morning.

Alec Shifflett heard his name called, and the Nelson County High graduate bolted for an orange shirt bearing No. 49.

Shifflett wasn’t any old walk-on getting his jersey number for the first time, however. A junior at the University of UVa, he’s in his first season of collegiate football. The former Governors standout had plans for West Point after high school, but he didn’t get in, so he ended up in Charlottesville.

“We always called [UVa] the Harvard of the South,” he explained.

A lifelong Cavalier football fan, Shifflett tried out for the team as a freshman, but former coach Mike London and staff told the 6-foot-2, 220-pound defensive lineman he was too slow. He stayed at UVa, joining the Army ROTC program and focusing on his studies.

But when first-year Cavs coach Bronco Mendenhall held a tryout in the springtime, Shifflett went out again. This time, he earned a spot. He did summer workouts with the incoming first-years, a self-described “tour guide” over the summer.

“I definitely felt like the older guy,” he said.

Photo by:  Lee Luther, Jr.