Cavalier Corner

December 2021

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DECEMBER 2021 19 JOEY BLOUNT Graduate Student • Football Safety Joey Blount came to UVA five years ago and more than 40 years after his father, Tony, starred at the same defensive back posi- tion for the Cavaliers. He has since forged his own path at UVA as the centerpiece of a foundation the football program can build on moving forward. Blount has appeared in 54 games for the orange and blue. As one of Virginia's 17 "super seniors" in 2021, he co-led the team with three interceptions, matching a career-high set in 2019. Over the course of his five seasons, Blount has picked off nine passes, the 10th-most among active players in college football and one shy of cracking UVA's all-time top 20. He was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2021 by Pro Football Focus after recording 54 solo tackles, tied with teammate Nick Jackson for the second-most in the league. Last year, Blount was an ACC All-Academic Football Team selection and was named a semifinalist for the 2020 William V. Campbell Tro- phy, which recognizes the best football scholar-athlete in the nation. He graduated in the summer of 2020, completing his undergraduate degree in three years, and is currently working on his master's degree in the Curry School of Education. His community service includes a myriad of activities, like working with the Ethiopian Eritrean Student Association at UVA, the student- athlete leadership council, Thursday's Heroes and Athletes for Hope. He also helps at Camp Henry, a summer camp for those with mental and/or physical disabilities, speaks with at-risk kids at a camp orga- nized by the Albemarle Police Department, makes hospital visits and is a middle school tutor. Reflecting back on his favorite memories at UVA, Blount has a number to choose from, including a standout performance in the 2019 season opener against Pitt. He made seven tackles, recorded his first two career sacks and intercepted a pass. On back-to-back plays in the fourth quarter, he tallied a sack and intercepted a pass to help solidify the season-opening win. But in his mind, there is one game that stands out above all the others, the 2019 win over Virginia Tech. "That game, when we all stepped onto the field, there was a differ- ent type of Virginia football," Blount said. "We were all playing together as one in all three phases of football. Every play, every snap, every communication was heartfelt and personal. It was family-based. "In that win, we won the Coastal Division. We beat Tech and we got the cup back. That was a reward for working hard, and I feel was my greatest reward." — Scott Fitzgerald • Photo by Matt Riley/courtesy UVA Athletics EXCEPTIONAL UVA STUDENT-ATHLETES

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