Cavalier Corner

October 2016

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Page 19 of 56

BY BRAD FRANKLIN R OUGHLY A YEAR ago, Kurt Ben- kert wasn't with h i s E a s t C a r o - lina teammates when they traveled to Gainesville for a matchup against Florida. Instead of trying to lead a fourth-quarter comeback against the Gators, the then- ECU signal-caller was sev- eral weeks into rehabbing a knee injury. He didn't even get to be on the sideline. Instead, he watched on television as his team fell in a heartbreaker of sorts for the Pirates. More than 12 months later, after going through the grueling process of returning to the field and making the tough decision to transfer, he's the starting quarterback at Virginia. And it's been a long, strange trip of sorts for the Sunshine State native. The 6-3, 225-pound Ben- kert arrived in Charlottes- ville this past summer after deciding to leave Greenville, N.C., at the tail end of spring practice. The head coach who recruited him, Ruffin McNeill, was let go at the end of the 2015 season. And Benkert decided it was time for a change himself. "I made the decision to- ward the end of spring ball," he explained. "I was think- ing about looking around, but when the new staff came in and started getting go- ing, I wanted to give them a chance. I felt like I had a lot of time left to play so if I THE RIGHT MAN Quarterback Kurt Benkert Could Not Have Found A Better Fit Then At UVA FOR THE JOB

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