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Defensive end Jake Snyder has been awarded the same honor bestowed upon his older brother, Matt, in 2011.
JOEL HAWKSLEY | The Roanoke Times
Defensive end Jake Snyder (above) was named one of the permanent captains for Virginia for 2013. Jake and brother Matt are the first sibling duo to serve as UVa co-captains since the Ryczek brothers of the 1970s.
The Roanoke Times | File 2011
Luke Bowanko will serve as a permanent co-captain for the Cavaliers in 2013.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Not everybody notices.
In the hallway outside Virginia’s football office is a collection of trophies, banners, paintings, videos and other memorabilia showcasing more than a century of Cavalier football.
Jake Snyder was struck by something else when he toured the McCue Center for the first time. He thinks it was seven years ago, when he was still an underclassmen at Deep Run High School outside Richmond.
Ringing the walls was a list of former UVa captains.
Now, Snyder will be added to that list.
UVa head coach Mike London announced Monday that Snyder, fellow graduate student Luke Bowanko and fourth-year senior Rijo Walker would serve as permanent captains for this year’s Cavalier team.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Snyder said. “Looking at the guys who came before me, I’m extremely proud.”
One of those guys is his older brother, Matt, who co-captained Virginia’s 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl team.
They are the first brothers to have a term as co-captains since Dan Ryczek in 1970 and his brother, Paul, in 1973.
“Sweet!” Matt Snyder said Tuesday between calls as a medical-device salesman in northern Virginia. “That’s pretty cool.”
Matt Snyder was a walk-on wide receiver for the Cavaliers who finished his career on scholarship. Jake. a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end, had multiple scholarship offers before committing to the Cavaliers.
Their family had owned UVa season tickets when the boys were younger and a third son, Will, is in his third year at UVa but does not play football.
Will Snyder frequently can be seen — and heard — at Coupe Deville’s in Charlottesville.
“Whatever he gets into, he does pretty incredibly,” Matt said. “He’s playing in a band and he’s a great guitarist, singing and stuff. It’s fantastic.”
Jake Snyder has started 24 of 25 games for Virginia over the past two seasons and his 44 tackles in 2012 was the high for a UVa defensive lineman.
New UVa defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, seen as a guy who’s hard to please, raves about Snyder.
“When he’s out there, he’s a force to be reckoned with,” said Tenuta in a reference to spring class conflicts that caused several players to miss time. “Everybody looks up to him, especially up in the front. He grasps things a lot faster than a lot of other guys do.
“So, I’m looking for big things out of Jake.”
Virginia used the occasion of last spring’s Orange-Blue intrasquad scrimmage to unveil a 13-player leadership council that included at least one player from each of the four classes.
Each of the captains was a member of the leadership council, from which a fourth captain will join them on a game-by-game basis.
Unlike Snyder and Bowanko, also entering his third year as a starter, fellow captain Walker is a back-up safety who gets most of his playing time on special teams.
“He’s the epitome of what a team player is,” London said.
Snyder’s maturity is reflected by the streaks of gray in his hair, brought to the media’s attention by his fellow captain, Bowanko.
“I kind of let him deal with all the discipline stuff and I’m the good cop,” Bowanko, said.
UVa radio voice Dave Koehn referred to Snyder as the “sheriff” of the group.
“It’s not the worst nickname I’ve ever had,” Snyder said.
If he’s caught any flak, it wasn’t from his brothers.
“We’ve never been that type of brothers,” Matt said. “There’s always competition in terms of maybe competing in the weight room but never in terms of accolades or achievements. We’re so happy for each other, whatever we can do.”
Now, the Ryczeks are another matter. Matt wanted to know if they had played on the same teams.
They had not. When the Ryczeks played, freshmen were ineligible. While Dan was completing his eligibility in 1970 and before he joined the Washington Redskins, his brother was on the UVa freshman team.
“So, we’ve got one on them,” Matt said.
Roanoker Tiki Barber was a UVa co-captain but his twin, Ronde, who passed up his final season of elibility and turned pro, was not. Other former captains include Bill Dudley, Shawn Moore, Thomas Jones, Matt Schaub, Heath Miller and Chris Long.
You could have predicted Jake Snyder would be joining them.
“To me, that decision was as a no brainer,” his brother said. “He’s a great leader, worker and player. But, for both of us to be captains? Who knew it was so unusual?”
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