Just as our nation looks back on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln with respect, Hokie fans everywhere treasure our "founding fathers". We have had a tremendous run of defensive backs come in and out of Blacksburg over the years. One of the first true difference makers, the true ball hawks, was none other than Ronyell Whitaker. He wore number 2. To many Hokie fans, he was "Deuce". Ronyell liked to talk a little bit, and was known to make big time plays in big time situations. He gave something that the current crop of Hokies needs to learn: an identity. He brought the swagger that had not been seen on Worsham Field prior to his arrival. Here's a kid who ran, covered, hit and told you about it later. I had the pleasure of connecting with Ronyell "Deuce" Whitaker, and without further ado, here's my ten questions for him.
RH: What are you up to professionally now, and how do you apply lessons learned in football to your everyday life?
RW: I am the loss mitigation and reo transaction manager. I also head our relocation department, and work with Minnesota professional athlete clients focusing on the relocation needs of Minnesota Vikings. I also market all ReMax properties in the Twin Cities area. I coach secondary at Chanhassen High School (which I love!) I apply football to my life pretty simply:
"Just win baby."
- Al Davis
RH: What was your most memorable win?
RW: It's not just one. I'll say West Virginia to help us get to the SHOW. Boston College to seal the season. Watching Vick fan surf was pretty cool, and will always stick in my head. Of course beating UVA, which I never lost to them EVER at Vtech. That always feels good to say!
RH: Who was the toughest receiver you ever had to cover?
RW: See that's tough too because it was a bunch of great ones. I'll go with Latif Grim because he was GREAT. I really think he helped Antonio Bryant become who he was.
RH: What team did you enjoy beating the most?
"UVA hands down!!! That bragging rights for a whole 365!!!! Book it!!!!"
RH: You helped found #DBU, what makes Tech such a generator of defensive backfield talent?
RW: It's the guys, but I also feel it's the coaches that allowed us to be who we are and more than likely it was always a reflection of who our coach was at the time. I had Lou West as a redshirt but played under Lorenzo "Whammy" Ward and it was AWESOME. Also it's the WRS and those coaches on that side of the ball that brought it out of us everyday in practice. It was EPIC 1 on 1's. I mean EPIC.
RH: Who was your best friend on the team, and do you still stay in touch?
RW: Larry Austin was my best friend. We still stay on touch on a regular basis. Larry was and always will be my guy. He had to get WRS if I was off that night, but I was fine with it because he ran a 4.24..
"Corey Moore taught us that friends will always be there, football will go away."
RH: What's your favorite restaurant in Blacksburg?
RW: Aberdeen Barn!!!! Hands down!!!! But Beamers' is pretty good also
RH: What makes Bud Foster so special?
"He likes to blitz as soon as we get off the bus!"
RW: Okay sorry I have to put "Deuce" back in the cage. It almost came out of me again and UVA is not even in town. This is an easy one: his fire and loyalty to players. No matter what negative press or anything was out there about me or anyone else he defended me. I will always respect him for that. He is a standup guy. His loyalty to Frank Beamer and Virginia tech is unheard of, but that's Bud.
RH: What can Virginia Tech do to get the recruiting advantage back in the #757?
RW: Win games! The reason all of us wanted to stay home was because we liked the culture that was set, and we saw it on our visits. The older guys made it clear that this is how we do business. It was a great business plan. Eat, sleep, and repeat VT. This equaled class on the field and in the community.
WOW. Did not expect this amount of insight from Ronyell, but I have learned never to judge a book by its cover. I never judge a book by its cover if its written by the guy whose lessons are taught on the field like they are gospel. Ronyell is the guy you want on your side if it's the football field, boardroom, or courtroom. He's a competitor. Tenacious now, just like he was back then. Thanks to Ronyell for making this happen, and we @gobblercountry.com wish you continued success.