Virginia Honors Their Three Fallen Brothers With ‘UVA Strong’ Game

Virginia will honor the lives of Devin Chandler, D'Sean Perry, and Level Davis Jr. as the Cavaliers return to Scott Stadium for the 'UVA Strong' game.

On Nov. 13, 2022, the lives of everyone at the University of Virginia were changed by the tragic and senseless loss of three of their own. This Saturday, Sept. 9, the Virginia Cavaliers will honor and remember the lives of Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry, and Lavel Davis Jr. with a ‘UVA Strong’ game as Virginia returns to action in Scott Stadium for the first time since that fateful night.

Virginia Honors Their Three Fallen Brothers With ‘UVA Strong’ Game

When Virginia takes to the field to face James Madison this Saturday, it will be 301 days since the sounds of thumping pads and cheering, perhaps jeering, fans filled Scott Stadium. A lot has happened to this program since then, a lot to comprehend, to process, to understand.

Time doesn’t always heal wounds, but with the ‘UVA Strong’ game, the program hopes to honor the legacies of the three players whose lives were taken too soon. Saturday will be about more than just a game of football. It will be a time for remembrance, reflection, and for communities to come together to support each other in the most emotional moments.

“We promised the family members that we would never forget their loved ones, and we will keep that promise,” Virginia athletic director Carla Williams told the assembled media earlier this week before calling upon everyone associated with the program and local area to unite in their display of support for all involved.

“To the UVA and Charlottesville communities, we encourage you to not only support these players, but to support the families of Devin, Lavel, and D’Sean as we celebrate their legacies this weekend.”

The first home game of the college football season is ordinarily a joyous occasion. It’s when the hope of a successful campaign is at its highest, where realism gives way to optimism, even if it’s temporary. For Virginia, the game against James Madison is also a momentous occasion in program history, as Scott Stadium plays host to college football for the 500th time.

That occasion, that optimism, will be channeled into a remembrance for three players who should be playing football this weekend, a show of support for the three sets of families — who will be in attendance this weekend — who lost their loved ones less than a year ago.

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While the ‘UVA Strong’ game marks one weekend, some of the initiatives to honor and remember Chandler, Perry, and Davis Jr. will last much longer.

The north end zone at Scott Stadium will be adorned with the ‘UVA Strong’ logo. The names of the three players will be painted around the boundary of David A. Harrison Field. They may not be present on the sideline, but their names and spirits will be.

Additionally, Virginia will wear helmet stickers honoring the three players during the 2023 college football season. Those players wearing the 1, 15, and 41 jerseys that were worn by Davis Jr., Chandler, and Perry will carry Virginia “Legacy Patches” complete with the name and number of their fallen brothers.

Kicker Will Bettridge wears the number 41 jersey for Virginia this season. With ties to linebacker Perry dating back to Pee Wee football, he received permission from the family to honor his fallen friend and told ESPN how it feels to be able to remember him in such a manner.

“The big word for me throughout this whole thing has been legacy, just keeping their legacy going. It’s the least that I can do right now. Just knowing that we’re playing for a bigger purpose, we’ve got three angels watching over us every day, and they won’t let us fail. That’s why we’re doing it for them this season.”

Ahead of the noon kick-off against James Madison, the ‘UVA Strong’ game will begin with a pregame ceremony intended to honor the three players and their families. There is also a memorial at 3 p.m. Friday, where a tree will be planted in the players’ honor, and a plaque dedicated to the memories of Chandler, Davis, and Perry will be erected.

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Family members and friends of the three fallen Virginia football players will also join in one of the great Cavalier traditions, the “Wahoo Walk,” where the players of the program enter Scott Stadium off a Whitehead Road lined with Cavalier fans. Chandler, Davis, and Perry, may not make that walk, but their family will do so on their behalf as part of the ‘UVA Strong’ remembrance.

There will be a football game among the memorials, the ceremonies, and the multiple acts of remembrance that come together for the ‘UVA Strong’ weekend. In some respects, that’s inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Yet, in his meeting with the media this week, head coach Tony Elliott offered a counter-point, a different but no less meaningful perspective.

“I’m excited to be back in front of our fans just to extend my gratitude to them for all the support that they’ve given us throughout the course of this journey since last November.”

“Obviously, everything that’s going to be done is what needs to be done, what’s supposed to be done in this situation. Then the best way that we can play our part as a team is to go out and play well, and that’s my message to the guys.”

“The administration is doing everything they’re supposed to do and need to do to honor Lavel, Devin, and D’Sean, to honor their families the way they’re supposed to, and then we need to go out and honor them by the way that we play.”

“And, again, outcome will take care of itself, but I’m just more interested in seeing these guys lay it on the line because that’s what those three would want.