Sept. 9, 2017
by Ben Donovan
For Jack English, Virginia is more than just a state or a schoolÃƒÆ’Ã†’Â¢ÃƒÆ’Â¢’Â¬Â¦Virginia is home. English is Virginia born and bred. The senior left tackle is proud to tell you that himself.
“I am a Virginia guy through and through,” English said. “My whole life has been in Virginia.”
Raised in Richmond, about an hour and a half east of Charlottesville, English has also been a fan of the Cavaliers for as long as he can remember – it is simply natural where he comes from. But he has an added motivation, with family ties forging an even deeper bond to the school.
“I grew up a UVA fan in general, my dad having gone to law school here,” English said, pausing before continuing with a shrug, “and where I am from, everyone is a UVA fan.”
In Cavalier football, English found the roots of his athletic pursuits. Despite growing up with dreams of playing baseball, it is the Virginia football games that English remembers attending as a child. It was Virginia football that began to call his name once he reached high school.
A three-sport athlete at Richmond’s Saint Christopher’s School, English led his baseball team to a VISAA State Title his senior year. It was evident relatively early in high school that football was his path to the next level.
“Once football became a possibility for college and it was clear to me that it was something I wanted to do,” English said. “UVA started recruiting me, it became a real possibility, and then the dream came true.”
Enrolling at the University in 2013, English’s commitment to Virginia only grew. After entering the program as a defensive lineman, English redshirted his first year and then began a six-month process where he switched positions twice, finally ending up as an offensive tackle, a position in which he has thrived.
Teamwork and teachability are two words that English has worked to epitomize. Coming into his final season, he has earned the praise of his coaches for his mindset and his dedication to improvement.
“Jack has done a really good job of developing his trade as an offensive lineman,” said UVA offensive line coach Garett Tujague. “He worked really hard in the offseason, before spring ball, on the three major categories that we felt were important for him to be in contention for an All-ACC player selection.”
English, entering his fifth year in the program, has started 18 games at left tackle in his career, the most starts of all returning offensive players for the Hoos. Higher expectations go hand-in-hand with increased experience. English has risen to every challenge presented to him, stepping into a team leader role and guiding the young line the Cavaliers have this year.
English has more than experience going for him this year.
“There is nothing that is ever going to replace experience and game reps, and that is obviously what Jack has,” Tujague said. “You can’t underestimate the will and desire to be the best in the country at your trade. If you have both of those, you’re set up for a pretty good recipe for success.”
Virginia has remained a large part of English’s life both before and during college, a fact that does not look to change any time soon. English hopes to have a chance to play in the NFL, but gazing into the future, he sees himself coming back to his home.
“I don’t know exactly what I would like to be doing in ten to fifteen years, but I know the experiences I have had here will definitely set me up for success in that time frame,” English said “I would like to be in a position where I can take care of and be a supporter of the things I care about, one of those being Virginia athletics, so I would love to be in either Richmond or that immediate area.”
English’s love of Virginia extends beyond his hometown of Richmond and his adopted home in Charlottesville. No place has a claim on English like his family home on the Chesapeake Bay.
“We have a house down in Ware Neck, in Gloucester county, and that means a lot to me,” English said. “Having a chance to go down there and be on the Bay, that is something that I like a lot. I love to go fishing with my dad so that has always been the place.”
One of the state’s more famous promotional slogans is “Virginia is for Lovers.” For the Cavalier lineman, “English is for Virginia.”