- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ausar Walcott’s suspension from the Virginia football team was lifted Wednesday.

He’s also getting a new position.

Cavaliers coach Mike London reinstated Walcott after the conclusion of spring practice, bringing to an end more than two months of uncertainty for the junior.

Walcott was suspended indefinitely Feb. 8 after he and teammates Mike Price and Devin Wallace were charged with a felony count of burglary-entering a dwelling with the intent to commit an assault and three misdemeanors after a January incident in Harrisonburg, Va.

All charges against Walcott were dropped last week, while Price and Wallace pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Price and Wallace remain suspended.

“Although his situation was through the judicial system and also through the school and it was remedied, there’s still certain things he has to do for me,” London said during a teleconference with reporters. “For right now, Ausar will be a defensive end and be placed at the bottom of the depth chart and will have to work his way up.”

Walcott moved from safety to linebacker last spring and eventually started all but one game. He ranked third on the team with 56 tackles in 12 games.

London said Walcott weighs “235, almost 240 pounds now” and will need to add more weight before next season to play defensive end. He was listed at 220 pounds entering last season and 230 pounds coming into the spring.

“I think anywhere above the 250 mark, which is very attainable with him,” London said of a targeted weight.

Still, Walcott has issues to sort out with London, even if his charges were dropped and the university’s judicial council brought no action against him.

“In light of that, it fell back on what my expectations are,” London said. “I had long conversations with him about certain expectations in the classroom, off the field and in the community. Ausar’s not out of the woods, but he’s back to being involved with football activities.”

ROCCO, METHENY LEAD AT QB: Virginia won’t enter camp with a designated starter at quarterback, but it will have two defined tiers for the four quarterbacks in its program.

“We’ll list it as Michael Rocco or Ross Metheny,” London said. “The second group will be Michael Strauss or David Watford. Those guys are in a bunch or in a clump. Those guys are continuing to be evaluated, but someone has to separate themselves. Rocco and Metheny have played in games, and they did get more reps than Michael Strauss and David Watford.”

Rocco was 13-for-25 for 143 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions as a backup to Marc Verica last season. Metheny went 13-for-17 for 171 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Strauss is a redshirt freshman. Watford enrolled early after wrapping up his career at Hampton High School in the fall.

HELP ON THE WAY?: The Cavaliers had two early enrollees on campus for the spring, and the rest of a recruiting class ranked 25th nationally (and fourth in the ACC) by Rivals.com arrives in Charlottesville in a few months.

More than a few could find their way onto the field in the fall.

“The skill positions on the perimeter - wide receiver, defensive backs, safeties - that rely on skill and athletic ability, [we’ll] want to see if they can grasp the system and the calls and the adjustments and the speed of the college game. … Anyone that can help us win, then they’ll play. If they can’t [and] need a year to soak, they’ll do that.”

• Patrick Stevens can be reached at pstevens@washingtontimes.com.

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