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Virginia still searching for its first 3,000-yard passer

Last season Matt Johns threw for 2,810 yards, the closest anyone at Virginia has come to the 3,000-yard mark since Matt Schaub in 2002. Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

Every school in the ACC has had a 1,000-yard receiver. Every school in the ACC has had a 1,000-yard rusher.

But it is a different story when it comes to 3,000-yard passers. There remains one school that has never hit that mark: Virginia.

Matt Schaub holds the best single-season passing record, throwing for 2,976 yards in 2002 to lead the ACC. He came close again in 2003, throwing for 2,952 yards. Last year, Matt Johns threw for 2,810 yards, the closest anyone at Virginia has come to the 3,000-yard mark since Schaub.

What are the prospects to finally get a player in the 3,000-yard club this season? When we went through our projections for potential 3,000-yard passers earlier this week, Virginia did not have anyone make the list.

There are a few reasons, besides the history. For one, Johns returns but whether he remains the starting quarterback is up in the air. East Carolina transfer Kurt Benkert will provide competition, along with Conner Brewer.

Second, Virginia loses top receiver Canaan Severin. The top returning receiver would be Keeon Johnson, who had 13 catches for 173 yards last season. Andre Levrone missed nearly all of 2015 with an injury but is expected back for 2016, and Doni Dowling could emerge as a threat, too. But for now, this group remains vastly unproven. Remember, its leader in receptions a year ago was running back Taquan Mizzell, who also finished second in receiving yards.

The last time Virginia had a 1,000-yard receiver was in 2001. Since Isaiah Ford gave Virginia Tech its first ever 1,000-yard receiver last year, Virginia now has the longest streak between 1,000-yard receivers in the ACC. Only four teams in the league have not had at least one 1,000-yard wideout since 2010: Louisville, NC State and Georgia Tech, along with UVa.

But there should be reason for optimism. Bronco Mendenhall and his staff bring a different offensive scheme that has placed a heavy emphasis on the quarterback. During his BYU career, Mendenhall had six 3,000-yard passers, including Tanner Mangum last year.

It might not happen in 2016, but given the new staff and the way offenses have taken center stage, chances are Virginia finally gets a 3,000-yard passer in the Mendenhall era.