CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Few teams in the country boast the talent and production in the receiving room like Virginia, but despite the depth it all starts with Dontayvion Wicks.

"We need him to be the guy out front every day that's setting the tone," UVA associate head coach/wide receivers coach Marques Hagans said, "That's holding guys accountable and I think if he can continue to grow and stay healthy and continue to make more plays than he did last year, I think we'll be in a good place."

Hagans has long been one of the biggest drivers behind Wicks ever since he arrived as a four-star receiver out of Louisiana. In his first full season at UVA, Wicks earned first team All-ACC accolades and is among the top returning receivers in the conference in receiving yards (1,203), touchdowns (nine) and yards per catch (21.1).

Wicks was recently named a preseason All-American by Pro Football Network, even though he was left of the media's preseason All-ACC team. With those expectations comes more responsibility and new head coach Tony Elliott has jumped in along with Hagans to push Wicks to the next level.

"Challenge him every day and coach him the hardest because he sets the standard and let him know that everything matters and he's buying in," Elliott said, "He's a different guy from a practice standpoint than the spring."
The new UVA offense constructed by Elliott and offensive coordinator Des Kitchings is still early in development as the Cavaliers bring on a less experienced offensive line, but Wicks has already begun to discover an expanded role. Elliott said the team is moving Wicks around in the formation more this season as a featured weapon in the Cavaliers attack, something the junior has handled well early in fall camp.
"Just moving me around the field, just showing that I can do more than I did last year," Wicks said, "Doing more is better, so just stepping up to that challenge. I'm ready to go this year."
The challenges for Wicks comes with a focus on the "little things" and becoming more of a vocal leader in a room which includes other veterans like Keytaon Thompson and Billy Kemp. But even the veterans have been impressed with the strides the star receiver has made as Wicks prepares for an encore this fall.
"He's definitely more focused, I just feel like he's going out there to attack as he should every day," senior wide receiver Billy Kemp said, "He's really putting his best foot forward to get better, correct the little things within his game, perfect the little things. The steps forward he's taken, I'm really proud of him and glad to see what else he can do in the future."