KANSAS CITY (BVM) – On Sunday, the University of Virginia was struck by tragedy as three current football players were killed in a shooting on the campus. The players, Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis, were each contributors to the team and their deaths, along with a serious injury in the shooting to fellow player Mike Hollins, pushed the Cavaliers to cancel their game on Saturday against Coastal Carolina.
The University of Virginia mourned the loss of the players, holding vigils and canceling classes on Monday and Tuesday. With the immense amount of grief in the Virginia community, one alumni is doing his part in honoring those victims.
On Wednesday, Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill posted photos onto his social media of customized cleats that he plans to wear during the team’s game on Sunday Night Football against the Los Angeles Chargers.
On the left side of the left cleat are the players’ three numbers, No. 1, No. 15 and No. 41 in the middle of a V for Virginia, on the right side of the cleat the numbers are again written. The right cleat has a bit more artwork on it as the left side of the cleat has each of the players’ Virginia jerseys painted on and the outside has the three numbers each adorned with orange angel wings. On the heel of each cleat are the three players’ first names, Devin, D’Sean and Lavel.
“1.15.41 👼🏽🧡💙 wearing these Sunday to celebrate you 3,” Thornhill tweeted.
1.15.41 👼🏽🧡💙 wearing these Sunday to celebrate you 3 pic.twitter.com/Q5bJo96PF6
— The_Juan_And_Only (@Juan_Thornhill) November 16, 2022
The news hits especially close to home for Thornhill. An Altavista, Virginia native, Thornhill stayed home for his college football career where he spent four seasons with the Cavaliers. Over those four years, Thornhill recorded 208 total tackles, 26 pass deflections, 13 interceptions and forced a fumble in 38 games.
During his career with the Cavs, Thornhill was twice named to an All-ACC team and earned College Football News All-America honorable mention as a senior in 2018. Thornhill also helped Virginia go to two bowl games, winning the 2018 Belk Bowl 28-0 over South Carolina. He was drafted by the Chiefs in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft following the season.
With his alma mater and home state still reeling from the tragedy, Thornhill will be doing his part to ensure that the names and legacies of those players lost during the incident are remembered as he wears his cleats for a nationally-televised contest. This is likely to be just a small contribution to the recovery process from notable alumni with many more likely to come over the following weeks and months. As the University of Virginia and the state as a whole looks for answers, it will bring some satisfaction to know that these young men will not soon be forgotten.