By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
Former starting quarterback and co-captain Greyson Lambert is joining the run of prominent players transferring from Virginia.
Lambert announced his intention in a post on Twitter on Saturday, the same day he received his degree.
The redshirt junior becomes the third consecutive incumbent starting quarterback to leave the Cavaliers since 2012, and leaves Matt Johns as the only scholarship quarterback on the roster until June.
Since 2012, seven quarterbacks have transferred, including 2012 starter Michael Rocco, 2013 starter David Watford, Ross Metheny, Phillip Sims, Michael Strauss and, earlier this week, redshirt freshman Corwin Cutler, who made a similar announcement on Twitter.
The program also lost tight end Jake McGee, its best offensive player, during an offseason last year even though coach Mike London and his offensive staff were devising ways to feature his pass-catching abilities.
Virginia’s inability to find, or commit to, a quarterback has contributed greatly to its offensive inconsistency.
Rocco led the Cavaliers to an 8-5 record and a bowl appearance in 2011, but was forced to share the job with Sims, a once-heralded transfer from Alabama, the following season.
Since then, the Cavaliers have finished 4-8, 2-10 and 5-7, leading to athletic director Craig Littlepage giving London just a one-year extension even before their final game last season.
In his extensive Twitter post, Lambert thanked London and the coaching staff, support staff and academic staff for their impact on his time at Virginia, but gave no reason for his decision. As a graduate, he will be available to play immediately when he chooses a new program to join.
His departure comes less than a year after he was heralded as the answer to Virginia’s long-running search for a quarterback. But he was benched before halftime in the opener against UCLA and shared the job with Johns the rest of the season. Johns won the starting job this year in spring practice.
In a news conference after releasing the depth chart, London said the battle for the top spot “wasn’t close.”
Lambert played in 16 games at Virginia, starting nine last season. For his career, he completed 187 of 336 passes (55.7 percent) for 1,972 yards with 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Blessed with a powerful arm, he had moments of brilliance but struggled with poor decision-making.
His inconsistency was evident again in this year’s spring game. He led a crisp scoring drive on the opening series, finishing it with a well-placed touchdown pass, but later was intercepted when he tried to throw a deep ball off his back foot under pressure. While not voted a captain this season, he was a member of London’s leadership council.
Johns, a redshirt junior, will be the only scholarship quarterback on the Cavaliers roster until recruit Nick Johns (no relation) arrives in June.
He also will be Virginia’s fourth opening day starting quarterback in as many seasons.