David Watford has won the Virginia starting quarterback job and will make his first career start against BYU in the season opener, coach Mike London announced Monday.
Watford had been the favorite to win the job after the Cavs lost both starters from a year ago -- Michael Rocco decided to transfer to Richmond and Phillip Sims was dismissed from the program following spring practice. Though Watford has not taken a snap in a game since 2011, he is the most experienced quarterback on the roster. Greyson Lambert, the player Watford beat out, is a redshirt freshman.
Watford played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2011, but redshirted last year as London decided to go with both Rocco and Sims at quarterback. Virginia has not had much stability at quarterback over the past several seasons, but London wants to change that heading into 2013. He said at ACC media days he wants to pick a starter and go with him as opposed to constantly rotating.
London pointed to a few factors that allowed Watford to emerge as his starter. The biggest factors in the decision were Watford's overall development and game experience. Watford also is mobile, another important factor.
But it seems as if Watford has some intangibles that London also is looking for out of his starting quarterback. London said Watford has the respect of his teammates. "He can be the face of the program," London said.
Watford has an opportunity to become just that in the first two games. After BYU, the Cavs get to take on Oregon in Week 2. There won't be any easing into the starting job.