Darius Bratton. Courtesy of Bratton.
Darius Bratton. Courtesy of Bratton.

Sportswriter Doug Doughty writes regularly for Cardinal News. Keep up with our free daily email newsletter.

Darius Bratton, a product of William Fleming High School in Roanoke who spent five years as a defensive back at Virginia, has accepted an invitation to go to training camp with the New Orleans Saints.

Pro scouts reportedly were impressed by Bratton’s performance in March at UVa’s “Pro Day, ” witnessed by an estimated 33 scouts.

Bratton was timed in 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash and he went 11 feet, 3 inches in the broad jump. Those marks were among the best in the NFL Combine, as was his 38.5-inch distance in the vertical jump.

Former Martinsville, W&L star dies at 79

Mel Cartwright Jr., a star basketball player at Martinsville High School who later became one of the top players to come through Washington and Lee’s program, passed away recently at age 79. He was the most valuable player for W&L in all four of his seasons.

His father, Mel Cartwright Sr., coached at Martinsville High School and elsewhere, including a stint as Lefty Driesell’s assistant at Maryland, before he died in 2002.

Virginia and Virginia Tech land players through transfer portal

The latest addition to the men’s basketball program at Virginia is 6-foot-9, 210-pound Jacob Groves, who averaged 6.8 points and 2.5 rebounds last year at Oklahoma.

Groves, who started 22 games, is from Spokane, Wash., and began his career at Eastern Washington. He has an older brother, Tanner, who was the Big Sky Conference player of the year before transferring to Oklahoma, where he no longer has eligibility.

Virginia Tech landed one of the top women’s players in the transfer portal, Rose Micheaux, who averaged 13.8 points last year at Minnesota.

Salem’s Lewis rated top football prospect

Peyton Lewis, a running back for Salem High School, is rated one of the top 300 prospects for the 2023-24 recruiting year. Lewis is a two-time state 55-meter champion. According to 247 Sports, he has 32 offers, including the likes of Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and South Carolina out of the Southeastern Conference.  

Virginia football

Virginia’s football program has taken a 2024 commitment from Benjamin York, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound offensive tackle from Lake Braddock High School in Fairfax County.  

Cordae Hankton, hired as a football recruiting analyst by Virginia head coach Tony Elliott this week, had previously served in the same position at Texas and also had worked at Michigan State and Colorado.

VMI lacrosse improves

Although the VMI men’s lacrosse team finished the season at 6-9, there was at least one positive. The Keydets had not won as many as six games since 2008. Sophomore Luke Rusterucci had 54 points, most by a VMI player since 2008.

Former Roanoke star is college standout swimmer

Davidson University senior Shelby Stanley, a standout swimmer when she was at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Academic team for the third time.

Stanley, a two-time All-A 10 Most Outstanding performer, received 21 medals in her career, including four at this year’s championship meet.  

Two Virginia players make MLB prospect list

The latest MLB.com prospect ranking for the 2023 Draft has Virginia catcher Kyle Teel at 15 and all-time Virginia homerun leader Jake Gelof at 42.

Lord Botetourt grad is conference co-coach of year

Lyndsey Hunnell, a graduate of Lord Botetourt High School, who played golf at the University of Virginia, took High Point to a second-place finish in the Big South Conference in her first season as head coach. Hunnell was conference co-coach of the year.

NIL restrictions

The Virginia High School League has created its own requirements for Name, Image and Likeness guidelines that have impacted the payments that have gone to college players. According to the VHSL, high schools cannot lure students to different schools in exchange for name, image and likeness payments.

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington,...