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Some sports reporters will tell you they are entirely objective. They will further claim they never have and never will let their personal feelings about a player, coach, executive or team get in the way of how they cover their beat.
The truth is writers and reporters are human too. We have emotions. We make mistakes. Sometimes, we let our personal opinions dictate an angle that we take on a story. Occasionally, that’s in a negative light.
But ever so often, it’s just the opposite.
My junior year at Virginia Tech was a lot of fun, as I served as the opinions editor, sports editor and managing editor of the Collegiate Times at different points in the school year. I also got to cover Virginia Tech football that season, attending the games as a writer and reporter.
As the 2014 season came to a close, I started putting together a piece on Virginia Tech’s two senior safeties: Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett. The two were great young men and I enjoyed interviewing both.
Jarrett’s interview sticks with me. He had an admirable innocence; Jarrett’s soul was honest and pure. Nothing had been given to him, yet Jarrett was still thankful that he got the opportunity in the first place. Even though football was offering him a chance to play professionally, Jarrett had already thought about how he could contribute off the field.
“If I’m blessed with the opportunity to go to the pros, I will take advantage of that,” Jarrett said in 2014. “Whatever I can do with helping kids or people with disabilities, whatever I can do. I know I’ll probably have to start off small, but I just want to help.”
Jarrett got that professional opportunity, as the then-named Washington Redskins drafted Jarrett in the sixth round in 2015 and immediately plugged him into their secondary. Jarrett blossomed into a do-it-all defensive back, contributing in run defense while also shutting down slot receivers and tight ends. Jarrett was an absolute steal who might still be playing an integral role in Washington’s secondary if it weren’t for a freak play in the season finale.
In Dallas, Jarrett went head-to-head with Cowboys running back Darren McFadden, and Jarrett stayed on the ground after the hit. It was determined that Jarrett sustained nerve damage in his neck and right shoulder from the contact, and he was never cleared to play football again.
Jarrett had given everything he had to playing football - while being humble and grateful for the opportunity - only to have it taken away.
He may have no longer been able to play, but that didn't stop Jarrett from searching for a different road to stay in the game. He spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons as a high school football assistant coach, then returned to Washington as a quality control coach for 2018 and 2019.
Today, the road completed its circle, as Jarrett comes home to be Virginia Tech's assistant director of player personnel.
The decision to hire Jarrett may quite possibly be the best decision Justin Fuente has ever made as head coach at Virginia Tech. Not a single person on this planet is better suited to teach and mentor young football players into young men, and not a single person on this planet will bring the institutional knowledge, the will power and the drive that Jarrett will bring.
He’s simply a perfect hire.
Jarrett may not be capable of returning Virginia Tech to the program’s glory days, but he is capable of fostering the exact culture you want in your football program. Jarrett started with little, earned a lot, then had it all taken away from him. Jarrett even fought personal battles that people don’t feel comfortable talking about.
He has overcome all of them.
I know I’ve spent a long time trying to establish a legitimate sense of objectivity when it comes to Virginia Tech athletics. But I’m not going to lie to you - I will be rooting for Kyshoen Jarrett from now until the end. I did so as a student at Virginia Tech, I did so as a Redskins fan and now, I will do so again as an outside observer of Virginia Tech football.
Congratulations Kyshoen. You’ve earned this.