Nov. 4, 2017

By Allegra Zamore

It us likely that 10 years down the road, Brandon Pertile will trade his spot on the offensive line for a different kind of protecting and enforcing. He hopes this one will focus a little less on a quarterback and more on laws and regulations, as he fulfills his dream of becoming a member of Congress.

“It has been my dream to be in Congress ever since fifth grade American Government class,” Pertile said. “The idea of making new laws and getting rid of old ones that don’t help anything or anyone has always been such a cool idea to me.”

The graduate transfer from Oklahoma State is enrolled in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy where he has had the opportunity to advance his interests in law and start thinking about the impact that he wants to have on society. The Florida native plans to start out defending laws and then move on to making them.

“In 10 years, I would hopefully be out of law school and practicing law in either Florida or Tennessee,” Pertile said. “I say I want to be a criminal defense attorney, but I don’t like the word criminal. I want to defend the people who are doing better and give people who deserve it a second chance in life.”

Pertile notes the second chance he received with the opportunity to play football at Virginia and he could not be more grateful.

“I have transferred to four different schools, and ever since coming to Virginia it’s been peaches and cream,” Pertile said. “This place is nothing like anywhere I have ever been and I love everything about it. It has changed my life forever.”

Charlottesville is the dream for any history buff like Pertile, whose mom says that he could give the tour at Monticello because he has been so many times.

“I love American history and all that Charlottesville has to offer,” Pertile said. “I also love the football atmosphere here. A lot of the people in the community are starting to buy in and I appreciate the positive feedback that we are receiving.”

Perhaps the most important fan in the UVA football community is Pertile’s mother, Debbie, who has only missed three of her son’s games since he started playing football in 2003.

“I am the luckiest guy in the world to have a support system like her,” Pertile said. “She and my dad have been in airports overnight and even sat through delays, all to come see me play football. She sprints to the bus before every game so that I can hug her outside the locker room, and it makes me work that much harder knowing I have her support.”

The offensive tackle credits his family’s support for giving him the mindset to make a difference wherever he goes.

“My dad always taught me that no matter what I was doing, to create memories with other people and leave a positive impact when I am gone,” Pertile said. “I want to join Congress to leave my legacy, and I like to think I will leave an impact on UVA when I leave.”

In the short time that Pertile has had at Virginia he has already managed to make countless friendships both on the field and while getting lost in the woods.

“All of the guys on the team decided to go hiking to a swimming hole and we got there and there was nobody to be found,” Pertile said. “We spent six hours hiking for absolutely no reason because we never found the swimming hole. We really bonded as a team, but I may never go hiking again.”

Outside of getting lost, Pertile has appreciated the Virginia mountains and new scenery he gets to enjoy during his free time that helps him clear his mind when life gets hectic.

“I grew up going to the beach in Florida but since there is no beach here I have really liked being outdoors and looking at the mountains,” Pertile said. “I love taking my dog, Hank, for walks and getting to spend time him. He’s definitely man’s best friend.”

Part of what keeps Pertile so positive is his ability to take breaks like this and keep a positive and light-hearted attitude.

“I am the funniest guy, self-proclaimed,” Pertile said. “Every week at school and out of practice I love to joke around with everyone and have a good time. That is definitely what I will miss the most about college football.”

Pertile appreciates the brotherhood that football creates and the importance of sticking together and building relationships with everyone that he meets. He wears the number 55 jersey to remind himself of where it all started.

“I wore the number 55 when I was in sixth grade,” Pertile said. “Back then football was just about having fun and getting to play the game. My mom still wears my sixth-grade picture in the jersey at all of my games, so it’s almost like I’ve come full circle.”

While Pertile plans to pursue his dreams in the NFL and leave his legacy there, he still holds on to the fifth-grade fascination with making the world a better place with his the ability to change and uphold laws. He is grateful for the second chances that have afforded him the opportunity to be where he is today and will continue to leave a positive impact wherever the future takes him.