UVA's Dubois seeks bigger leadership role

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Last April, Virginia's spring football game ended on a touchdown catch by receiver Hasise Dubois -- and then an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Dubois.

A year later, Dubois is the most experienced receiver the Cavaliers have on their spring roster, coming off a career season last fall. And with the spring game approaching on Saturday, the rising senior is hoping to show everyone how much he has grown up in the past year.

"The next step for me is to basically take on that leader role, and be the number one guy here to help the team out," Dubois said after the Cavaliers' practice Monday morning at the McCue Center. "Because I know with my success it's going to help the team strive."

Dubois caught 52 passes for 578 yards last fall, ranking second behind departed senior Olamide Zaccheaus in both statistics. His five touchdown catches were third on the team behind Zaccheaus (nine) and fellow rising senior Joe Reed (seven). All three stats were career highs for Dubois, who spent most of his first two seasons at UVA playing behind Andre Levrone and Doni Dowling.

With Reed and Ben Hogg both injured, Dubois is the only senior on the field at wide receiver for the Cavaliers this spring. He has tried to test his skills as a veteran voice in the receivers room this off-season.

"Sometimes you have to break out of your own character and venture out and learn how everyone else learns, learn how everyone else interacts," Dubois explained. "Be able to have your own unique relationship with each teammate."

Dubois had drawn the ire of his head coach in the past for his lack of maturity on the football field. Most memorably, Bronco Mendenhall publicly criticized Dubois for the 15-yard penalty that ended last year's spring game. That flag was thrown when Dubois threw the football at the cornerback who tried to defend the game-ending touchdown pass.

On Monday, Mendenhall complimented Dubois for the way he has matured as a leader in the UVA locker room.

"Hasise has always had leadership potential and charisma, and a dynamic personality. It's just what direction he was leading in," Mendenhall said. "There's plenty of people that follow him. But that comes with maturity, right?"

"And so, he is maturing and he is becoming more consistent, and he wants to," Mendenhall said. "So he understands his natural kind of gift and talent in that regard. The application is what we're working on right now."

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