The three University of Virginia football players murdered in a 2022 mass shooting on campus were recognized on Thursday (April 27) by the NFL during the 2023 draft. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell opened the ceremony, naming D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler, and Lavel Davis Jr. as this year’s honorary first picks.
Virginia alums Melissa Stark and D’Brickashaw Ferguson spoke to the skills and talent of the athletes and their legacies off the field. Each player was welcomed to the “NFL family” with their loved ones receiving custom jerseys representing different NFL teams.
Chandler’s family received a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey, Davis’ a Baltimore Ravens jersey, and Perry’s a Miami Dolphins jersey. Each featured the number 23. Virginia head coach Tony Elliott and the university’s athletics director Carla Williams were also in attendance.
The three football players were shot and killed in November 2022 when former UVA running back Christopher Jones Jr. allegedly opened gunfire on a bus full of students. According to witnesses, the shooting was targeted, with one claiming Jones shot Chandler as he slept. Two other students were injured.
UVA awarded the three slain co-eds posthumous degrees from The College of Arts & Sciences departments in December 2022. Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs Rachel Most initiated the request for the certificates, which were delivered by Williams to each of the families.
“It was a great honor to be a part of presenting these diplomas to the families of Devin, Lavel, and D’Sean,” expressed the athletic director
Davis was enrolled as a third-year student from Ridgeville, SC., who majored in African American and African studies. Chandler was a second-year student from Huntersville, NC. who majored in American studies. Perry was in his fourth year at UVA from Miami and double majored in studio art and in African American and African studies.