Brennan Armstrong end zone flex.jpg

Breannan Armstrong celebrates with teammates after reaching the end zone.

SHELBY -- Shelby High School graduate Brennan Armstrong will return to the University of Virginia for a fifth season, he announced on his Instagram page on Thursday.

The Cavaliers' quarterback had a spectacular season in 2021. He ranked second nationally in passing average and was listed among the nation's top college QBs. He led UVA to a 6-6 season and the Fenway Bowl -- which was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The announcement drew national attention at ESPN, which featured it, and Armstrong's Instagram video announcement on Thursday night.

"Growing up playing sports in Ohio, I (shared) every kid's dream to play at the pro level," Armstrong said in his Instagram video. "It's been a long journey, but I've enjoyed every step of the way.

"After a long talk with my family, I'm excited to announce that I will be coming back to the University of Virginia and playing one more year. Go Hoos!"

For those of us here in north central Ohio, Wahoos is the unofficial nickname for the Cavaliers, and Hoos is the shortened version. Obviously, Armstrong is embedded in the University of Virginia culture. He's already a two-time team captain and a certain three-timer when the 2022 season begins.

He had a decision to make as Virginia is starting over under a new coach, Tony Elliott. Previously, Elliott was the offensive coordinator at Clemson. He will replace Bronco Mendenhall, who resigned following the Cavaliers' regular season.

Elliott met with Armstrong, and the former Whippet confirmed he would not transfer, but was pondering a choice to opt into the NFL Draft.

"I think he's going to run a great program. I'm really excited to see it," Armstrong said in a Dec. 13 AP story. "I'm not going to transfer. It's either here or the NFL."

Thursday's declaration was considered key for Elliott.

Armstrong led Virginia to a 6-2 start, but was injured in a loss to BYU, and missed the Notre Dame game. Although he returned in November, the Cavaliers never really recovered and lost their last four, including a defeat to arch-rival Virginia Tech, and finished 4-4 in the ACC Coastal division. 

Individually, despite the injury, Armstrong completed 326-of-500 passes (65.2 percent) for 4,449 yards (4th-most in the nation), 31 TDs, 10 INTs and a 75.4 QB rating (23rd in the country). He also ran for 251 yards and 9 more touchdowns, creating 40 touchdowns overall.

In his four-year career, he's completed 500-of-793 passes (63.1 percent) for 6,824 yards, 51 TDs, 23 INTs, and has run 240 times for 896 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. He's accounted for 65 scores in his career to date.

Last autumn's effort made him a Maxwell Award semifinalist, Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Top 10 finalist, Dudley Award winner, and Manning Award finalist. Armstrong was second-team All-ACC, according to Pro Football Focus and Phil Steele; and third-team All-ACC, according to the Associated Press. He was listed 34th on Pro Football Focus’ 101 best college football players of 2021 list.

He hopes to take the next step under a coach with national championship experience under Dabo Swinney.

“He has the résumé,” Armstrong said of Elliott in an interview with 247. “He’s been to the best of the best games and had some of the best players. I’m glad I can most likely be coached by him and build off that.

"[UVA Athletic Director] Carla [Williams] did well -- got someone in here that fits us and fits this program well. He has the experience to take this place to the next step. We went from 9-3 to COVID year to 6-6. It's just waiting to go to that next step, and I just think that he has the experience, and he knows what it looks like. I am excited to see how it goes."

Due to the 2020 COVID ruling, Armstrong actually has two years of eligibility remaining.

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I've lived in Richland Co. since 1990, married here, our children were born here. This is home. I have two books published on a passion topic, Ohio high school football. Others: Buckeyes, Cavs, Bengals, Reds, History, Disney.

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