Kam Butler highlights added depth on UVA defensive line
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Tony Elliott breathed a sigh of relief at the first practice of fall camp seeing a full roster take the field for Virginia, especially at defensive line after the addition of four grad transfers.
"They came here with an intent, they know that their time is limited and they got objectives, so they're very focused, very driven young men, so that already creates a sense of urgency," Elliott said after the first practice.
UVA added Michigan State transfer Jack Camper in the spring, but the defensive end missed all of spring ball with an injury. Over the summer the Cavaliers welcomed three more grad transfers in edge players Kam Butler out of Miami (Oh.) and Paul Akere from Columbia, along with defensive tackle Devontae Davis from South Carolina.
The group adds experience and depth in a new look Virginia defense under John Rudzinski, which uses a variety of looks. A week through fall camp though, Butler was the lone transfer to crack the first group in practice at the "heavy field-end" spot with sophomore edge Mike Green in the "Bandit" position on the weakside of the defense. Returners Jahmeer Carter and Aaron Faumui lined up on the interior of the defensive line.
"[Butler]'s worked his way to the front of the line very quickly because he's got a motor," Elliott said, "He's one of those guys that came in here very intentional, he's very, very twitchy and he loves to practice. So what he's done is upped the competition level and set the standard for what game reps look like in practice."
Butler was a three-time All-MAC selection for the RedHawks, including earning first team honors last season while piling up 14 tackles for loss and eight sacks. One of the biggest draws for Butler coming to UVA was the academic opportunity to get his masters done in a year, but also the chance to pull closer to the ultimate goal of extending his football career.
"I mean we've had conversations about it, I'm trying to play football as long as possible so wherever that takes me, NFL, CFL, it doesn't matter to me," Butler said, "I'm just trying to have the best year with my teammates this year, win some games, hopefully win an ACC Championship."
Defensive ends coach Chris Slade believes with the new additions, the Cavaliers edge group has the ability to "change the complexity of a football game." Butler will surely be one of those featured options, setting the standard for a now deeper, talented UVA defensive line.
"We've got a deep room, we've got some guys that can get after the quarterback," Butler said, "We've got some guys that play really, really hard, so we're excited to go out there and play and show everybody what we're made of."