Virginia’s Hollins: ‘We need football right now’

  • Andrea Adelson, ESPN Senior WriterJul 28, 2023, 02:22 PM ET


    • ACC reporter.
    • Signed up with in 2010.
    • Graduate of the University of Florida.CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.– Virginia running back Mike Hollins has actually thought about what it will seem like to step onto the practice field to begin fall practice next week.Emotions are blended, naturally. Hollins made it through a shooting last November that killed teammates Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry, and he still grieves for them every day. Hollins, his colleagues and the coaching personnel want to keep the players ‘legacies alive as the brand-new season begins.But Hollins said during a press conference Friday that he is excited for what this season holds, too, as camp opens Aug. 2.”Not just for this team, but for the city, the university. Because we require football right now, “Hollins stated.”It does something to the environment, just the whole friendship of the university. It will uplift the 3 we lost simply by seeing them up on the big screen or simply being in a football game, people will be remembering them. So I’m delighted.”Hollins returned to practice in the spring, four months after a gunshot injury to his abdominal areas that kept him hospitalized for a week. In the spring game in April, he scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in an end zone painted to memorialize Davis, Chandler and Perry and ended up with 11 brings for 40 yards.His efficiency throughout the spring offered Hollins a substantial confidence increase that he said brought into summer workouts.

      Hollins said he feels 100 percent physically, and his weight is back up to 204 pounds after dropping to 185 last winter. “I believe it revealed me that anything is possible, and I think that the mind is very effective as well, “Hollins said.

      “I had those days where I didn’t think I wished to continue however moving throughout the spring every day, awakening and making a decision to appear for myself first, and then show up for my colleagues, just showed me that I might be resilient under tough scenarios. That’s actually what this spring was all about. Strength. “It might have been easy and everyone would have been okay with me not playing this season or remaining or finding a way to simply belong of the team but not really get involved. However getting up and entering the weight room when I didn’t seem like it or when I was sore or when I was 20 pounds lighter, simply having that determination to return to where I was, it actually stood apart from this spring.”Hollins, Davis, Chandler and Perry were shot in November on a charter bus after returning to Charlottesville following an expedition to Washington, D.C. Another student, Marlee Morgan, was also shot but survived.Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a UVA trainee and previous member of the football group who was on the journey, has actually been charged with 3 counts of second-degree murder and making use of a gun in the commission of a felony. Prosecutors have actually also charged

      him with 2 counts of destructive wounding and extra gun-related charges related to shooting Hollins and Morgan.Hollins said he is doing better from a mental standpoint, but is still working through his feelings. He said he and his teammates have actually kept Davis, Chandler and Perry in their ideas during their offseason work.”When times get hard, everybody thinks about them and discovers a method to press through,”Hollins said.

      “That’s where you get your motivation, your drive from. And if you do not, then your mind remains in the wrong place since that’s the best source. There is no much better source to drive you forward than three individuals that you like so deeply who

      were taken. I have wristbands on. I keep them on. I never ever take them off. So they do stand as a source of strength for me and a place where I can always pull from.”Coaches describe Hollins’ journey back as nothing short of impressive. Running backs coach Keith Gaither said Hollins, Perris Jones and Kobe Speed will divide associates to determine the rotation at the position heading into the season. “Mike is special, and since he came back, he’s just been purpose-driven,”Gaither stated.” He’s been on a mission in every element

      of his life. He’s been more focused. He’s a significant colleague. Few young men can go through what Mike went through and return and be better. In every aspect of his life, he’s better. He’s a much

      better football player. He’s a better young man since of what he went through, and it’s spreading out throughout the team. I can’t state sufficient about how strong he is. “

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