CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- It didn't take long on Monday for Bronco Mendenhall to confirm what Virginia football fans had feared since Friday night's loss at Miami.
During the opening remarks at his weekly press conference, the Cavaliers' head coach told reporters that All-American cornerback Bryce Hall will miss the rest of the season after injuring his ankle against the Hurricanes.
"Bryce is just an amazing young person, and has and does have a huge impact on our program," Mendenhall said. "I'm thankful for his efforts, for the chance to be his coach, for his influence not only on the team, but in my life."
Hall had to be carted off the field at Hard Rock Stadium after getting hurt on punt coverage on Friday night. Mendenhall said Hall had surgery on the ankle on Sunday morning, and once healthy enough, the senior will begin rehabbing in preparation for a pro football career.
"On the bus after the game he was sitting right behind me, and I turned, and one of the few times -- I usually have something kind of quick-witted to say to our players, and nothing came," Mendenhall said on Monday. "I said, 'Yeah, I've got nothing.'"
Hall passed on the opportunity to be a potential early-round NFL draft pick following his All-America junior season. After leading the country with 22 pass break-ups last year, Hall had four more through the Cavaliers' first five-plus games this season.
After Hall was hurt on Friday, De'Vante Cross shifted from the free safety spot -- where he had started all six games this season -- to cornerback, with Chris Moore stepping in for Cross at safety. On Monday, Mendenhall said that would contiinue to be the plan moving forward, starting with Saturday's home game against Duke.
"Yes, it hurts emotionally. Yes, it hurts in a lot of different ways, including tactically," Mendenhall said. "But already how he's handled it is, he's taught us a lot. Which I think will end up helping our program at some point and at some time in the new role that he has."
Hall has also served as a spiritual leader inside the UVA locker room. One of the Wahoos' three captains this season, coaches and teammates have long praised his work ethic in film study and on the practice field.
On Monday, teammates praised Hall for the way he has handled his season-ending setback.
"Bryce and I came in together, the summer of 2016. Hardest working guy I know. So it was definitely tough to see," said senior wide receiver Joe Reed. "But after talking to Bryce, man, he's just so positive about the situation."
"He's handled it, honestly, the best out of everyone. Because even when it first happened, he was just really calm about it," said junior defensive lineman Mandy Alonso. "It's very reassuring that he can still keep his faith, even in a moment like that. And that we basically need to build around that, and just play for him I guess."