But until this week, few people — not his coaches, and not his teammates — were aware that Jarrett has had to shoulder more than the average college football player.
Jarrett’s 21-year-old brother, Daishawn, is a triplegic with cerebral palsy. He’s legally blind, struggles cognitively and uses a wheelchair. Growing up in a single-parent household with a mother who worked full time as a teacher, it was up to Kyshoen and his two other older brothers to help care for him.
“I look at him and he can’t do the same things that I do,” Jarrett said earlier this week. “Him not being able to run or walk, and me having a fracture in my wrist or my hand, it doesn’t really slow me down. I just keep on fighting, keep going forward.
“It motivates me to go out there and practice hard because you never know. That’s just how it is sometimes.”
Eventually, responsibility for Daishawn came down to just Kyshoen and his mother, Vinise Capers. Daishawn had become too heavy for Capers to carry and occasionally, because of his condition, resisted her help.
So while he blossomed on the football field in high school, Kyshoen was also waking up an hour earlier than usual once his brothers left the house. He would wash and dress Daishawn, feed him and physically put him in the wheelchair. He would then take Daishawn to the school bus stop every morning.
“I think it made him tenacious. I think it made him resilient — resilient to a level I couldn’t have imagined,” Capers said in a telephone interview this week. “He watched me not give up and give in to stereotypes and statistics. Being a single mother of four sons, African-American sons, reality is reality. Without a father in the home, that can be dangerous for them.
“But I think having a brother who was limited and watching him smile anyways, watching me care for him – and he got to see his older two brothers caring for him — it was just part of the fabric of our family. He’d already been a part of a team before he started playing football.”
Jarrett’s college football career will come full circle Saturday when No. 13 Virginia Tech (2-0) travels to Pittsburgh (0-2) for its first road game of the season. He originally committed to the Panthers during the summer of 2010, but reconsidered when Pittsburgh fired then-coach Dave Wannstedt.
His high school coaches had a good relationship with Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster, and contacted him soon after Jarrett de-committed. It also helped that Jarrett had developed a relationship with defensive backs coach Torrian Gray during his original recruiting process, and he became a late addition to Virginia Tech’s 2011 recruiting class.