The Hokies are set to host Florida State on Thursday night in chilly Blacksburg where the Hokie nation is wondering if its team can finally show its true character this season.
One Hokie who has shown plenty of character in the face of a tough situation.
Virginia Tech is in the midst of its worst season since 1992, and there's been plenty of angst among the fan base because of that. But safety Kyshoen Jarrett knows that there are more important things in life, everyday things. Kyshoen has shouldered a much heavier load than perhaps any other college football player in the country.
“It was a blessing in disguise,” Jarrett said.
Jarrett isn't talking about backing out of his commitment to the University of Pittsburgh, before deciding on Virginia Tech. He's referring to taking care of his older brother Daishawn. The 21-year-old has cerebral palsy and is legally blind. Growing up in a single parent household with a mother who worked full time, Kyshoen and his two oldest brothers were in charge of helping Daishawn with everyday tasks.
“I helped my mom get him up in the morning and brush his teeth, make sure he eats, put him on the bus, and then after school make sure he gets back in the house,” Jarrett said. “Just stuff like that, taking care of him.
Vinise Capers, Kyshoen’s mom said: “There were times when I had to be at work to maintain the family's livelihood. He would have to stay home and watch his brother or if he wanted to do something on the weekend and I had a speaking engagement, he was the one to stay home when his older brothers left the home but he didn't complain about it, and he's the type of man I had hoped he would become.
Kyshoen was often up an hour earlier than most kids his age while in high school, but saw his responsibilities, not as a burden, but rather a gift.
“There was a lot of stuff that I probably missed out on but to me, it wasn't a big deal,” Jarrett said. “I wasn't into all the crazy stuff so it wasn't a disappointment for me growing up. It could have saved me from getting in trouble, being in the wrong position at the wrong time so it could have saved me from a lot of stuff.”
Kyshoen has been a bright spot for the Hokies this season, his first year as a starter at safety, and while it's been a trying year at times for the Hokies on the field, he has a unique perspective on winning and losing.
“You have to grow up earlier than most kids because you are taking on someone who can't really go about certain situations for themselves, can't walk and can't see so you gotta help them do stuff as well,” Jarrett said. “It helped me not take things for granted like injuries or just everyday life.”
His mother said: “He knows what's important in life and winning a football game is great. Being able to bench press the most in the weight room is great, but he also knows it's deeper than that. “
“Daishawn attended a game here at Lane Stadium earlier this year. Kyshoen says his brother goes crazy when the crowd gets excited and especially when he hears Kyshoen's name on the loud speaker after making a play.