NFL commissioner Roger Goodell invited the families of Chandler, Davis and Perry onstage and presented them with jerseys of their sons’ favorite NFL teams.
Tonight, the NFL honored and celebrated the lives of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry by having a special ceremonial draft to forever enshrine them in the NFL.— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) April 28, 2023
#UVAStrong | @NFL | @NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/ExCdCYj8NM
The NFL honored D'Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler to open up the draft ❤️ pic.twitter.com/nlQiVAd8sg— ESPN (@espn) April 27, 2023
The tribute, broadcast live on ESPN and NFL Network, began with words from UVA alumna and NFL Network reporter Melissa Stark and another Cavalier, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, a former first-round pick of the New York Jets who played 10 seasons and in three Pro Bowls.
“These men were more than talented athletes,” Stark said. “They were valued members of their community, known for their kindness, leadership and determination.
“As the draft gets ready to start, we remember No. 1 (Davis), 15 (Chandler) and 41 (Perry) and the impact they had on so many in so short a time. They will live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew them, and in the ‘UVA Strong’ community around the world.”
Ferguson highlighted the beautiful qualities that defined all three individuals.
Perry, he said, was a “determined young man both on and off the football field. He loved music, poetry and art. A multi-sport athlete who left an impression on all he came in contact with, D’Sean loved his mother and his siblings deeply. A man of strong faith, he gave back to his community by participating in youth ministries, youth football camps and numerous community giveaway programs.”
Forever a Dolphin. 🤍— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 28, 2023
Today we remember the three lives lost last November at @UVA, and are honored to recognize Miami native D’Sean Perry, a member of @UVAFootball, ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/jyEUZJEpCu
Davis, Ferguson said, was a “kind, smart, humble young man who held himself to the highest of standards. His life was grounded in his strong faith in God and his love for his family. And he had a special relationship with his grandparents.”
The proud Ridgeville, South Carolina, native “always encouraged those around him” and always “made good choices,” Ferguson said.
Chandler’s “smile and joy were infectious,” Ferguson said. “He enjoyed making others laugh, especially his parents.”