CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Listed at 5-8, Olamide Zaccheaus has left behind some big shoes to fill with the Virginia football program.
Zaccheaus ended his UVA career last season as the program's all-time leader with 250 career catches, and second in school history with 2,753 receiving yards. Zaccheaus capped his career with a three-touchdown performance against South Carolina to earn MVP honors at the Belk Bowl.
Filling that vacant H-back spot left behind by Zaccheaus is one of the items on UVA's agenda this spring. At the halfway point of the Cavaliers' spring schedule, 5-9 rising sophomore Billy Kemp has been getting the attention of the coaching staff.
"Making plays, making plays, making plays," UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall said when asked what Kemp has been doing to stand out in practice. "That's the way that you garner attention. Certainly the effort and how hard someone tries is what I look for first. And then if they are productive with that? Yeah, then they start capturing my mind, and possibly what role they might get."
According to wide receivers coach Marques Hagans, the next step for Kemp is to show he can continue to make those plays.
"He's flashing a lot of ability. And with him now, it's got to be consistent," Hagans said. "And I think that's always one thing we could always count on O, is he was very consistent. And so now Billy is showing that he has the ability, now he's got to show that he can be consistent."
Kemp didn't make a catch on offense in seven game appearances as a true freshman last season. He did return three punts for 31 yards in the Belk Bowl.
The Highland Springs High School product said he spent last year observing Zaccheaus's work ethic and eating habits, and he's now trying to apply those lessons this spring.
"I'm ten times more comfortable. The offense is clicking for me. Understand where I'm supposed to be, what I'm supposed to do at all times," Kemp said. "I think I'm very explosive, and I just think I could be another dynamic, consistent receiver in the offense. Just focusing on getting open every play, and just being another target."