July 15, 2012
Many of the student athletes who come through the Virginia football program dream of playing in the NFL one day.
Chris Long was one of those student athletes and now Long is one of the premier defensive players in the NFL.
The second overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Long tallied 13 sacks last season for the St. Louis Rams.
"Last year statistically I made a sizable jump from eight and a half sacks to 13," Long said. "I knew I had to get to double digits so I just focused on a lot of little things and they all culminated into just raising that number a little bit."
Long became a sack-master during his time at Virginia, where he played under then-defensive coordinator Mike London.
London is now the head Cavalier and his recruiting efforts have the Wahoos on an upward trend as a program.
The ability to showcase a player like Long as an example of the type of pro prospect UVa can make of student athletes is a big factor in recruiting and Long is happy to help his former coordinator.
"Coach L is doing a great job. He just gets it. He's a great recruiter, he's a high energy guy, a great coach. The players look up to him and he's done a great job of kind of energizing the program and you can see the type of players they're bringing in," Long explained.
And he should know because he sees it himself. Long returns to Charlottesville in the NFL offseason to train, and still uses the Virginia facilities.
He's seen the future of the Virginia program in some of the young players that have come through recently.
"(UVa) lets me come back and use the weight room and I see some of the athletes that come in here. They're just amazing. And that's a testament to Coach London's recruiting."