Wednesday, October 31, 2012
UVa wide receiver Scott is catching on
The redshirt sophomore, who did not have a catch before this season, leads UVa wideouts in touchdown receptions and fashion sense.
Photos by Kyle Green | The Roanoke Times
University of Virginia receiver E.J. Scott (left) has 23 receptions this season, three of which have resulted in touchdowns.
Virginia wideout E.J. Scott (right) had his season cut short last year when he was diagnosed with mononucleosis.
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Aaron McFarling's blog
Virginia at N.C. State | Saturday, 12:30 p.m. | WDBJ
CHARLOTTESVILLE - The on-field development of Virginia wide receiver E.J. Scott has only added to his credibility as a fashion consultant.
Scott, a redshirt sophomore who entered the season without a college reception, already has 23 catches this season and has caught more touchdown passes - three - than any other Cavaliers wideout.
"I did not know E.J. before I got here," said Phillip Sims, the quarterback on each of Scott's TD receptions. "When I got here this summer, you just could tell he had a work ethic about him. He just wanted to get better. He wanted to run the best routes he could. Wanted to know the offense as best as he could.
"It's something that he's done better every week since I've been here. I really don't think I'm going out there on the field looking for [No.] 19 but it sure seems like it, 'cause he's coming up with a lot of big catches for me. It just so happens that he's the guy in there and he's getting open. I'm going to throw it to who's ever open."
Scott also has become a go-to guy when it comes to the Cavaliers' weekly choice of a uniform combination.
"The equipment people come to us early in the week and ask us what we want to wear," said defensive end La'Roy Reynolds, one of UVa's five co-captains. "It's not something [the captains] think about, but there's always a guy saying, 'We should wear this,' or 'I think this would look better.'"
Often, it's the same guy.
"Yeah, E.J. Scott, definitely," Reynolds said. "He is fashionable. He makes good decisions. He'll tell you that. But he's been doing pretty good, so I really couldn't respond [negatively]."
Reynolds was referring to Scott's on-field work because none of the uniform combinations has been successful during a six-game losing streak.
Scott has started only twice for the Cavaliers (2-6, 0-4 ACC) but has played in every game, a big switch from 2011.
After redshirting in 2010 as a freshman, Scott was on the field for a total of six plays last season, the last four in a Sept. 24 game against Southern Mississippi.
One month into the season, he was diagnosed with mononucleosis, and eventually his tonsils were removed.
"I was sick for a long time," said Scott, who is from the Baltimore suburb of Ellicott City, Md., but played closer to Washington at Our Lady of Good Counsel. "One thing led to another and it lingered on.
"I tried to get back on the field as soon as I could, which kind of hurt in the long run. When they made their trips to Miami and Florida State, I wasn't there. Having to watch back at home is always tough but it made me hungry for this year."
Scott made sure that he had a full grasp of the UVa playbook and sought the counsel of senior tailback Perry Jones, a two-time UVa co-captain.
"He always stays on me and it's been like that for a while now," Scott said. "If I ever need something, I can always go to him and get an honest opinion. He does that for a lot of guys."
Scott is starting to get some recognition outside the program and is particularly pleased that people are calling him E.J.
"When I first got here and introduced myself to the team, they asked me what E.J. stood for," Scott said. "I told them 'Earl' and everybody started cracking up in the meeting."
What? Haven't they heard of 1977 Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell?
"Ever since then, I've been Earl to the coaches, but this past training camp I made it known that I wanted to be E.J. now," said Scott, who hasn't shared the story with his father, Earl Sr. "I just think E.J. works a little better."
Teammates aren't arguing, not with his name or his taste in jersey combinations, although Scott says his only real preference is that the Cavaliers wear orange helmets.
They have worn seven different combinations of orange, blue and white over eight games.
"Look good, play good," said Scott, hoping for a turnaround as the Cavaliers prepare to visit North Carolina State this week. "I do put in my little two cents' worth."