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A Story Behind the Story

Last season, as Rashad Carmichael struggled on and off the field after his father’s death, one player on the Virginia Tech team helped him the most: Jason Worilds.

Carmichael, the Hokies' field cornerback, and Worilds, a defensive end, are so close they consider themselves brothers. Worilds said it was as if they were “joined at the hip.” They have a deep bond as a result of an unlikely history that reaches far beyond Blacksburg.

Before Carmichael had even heard of Virginia Tech – much less entertained thoughts of playing for its football team – his father, Bernard, was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. Worilds’s older brother, Boo, was also stationed on the base. Bernard and Boo played flag football together every Wednesday night at 7 on the base.

When Boo met Carmichael, he said: “I have a younger brother who reminds me of you. I’m telling you, y’all dudes would be good for each other.”

Carmichael said he blew it off, thinking it unlikely he would ever meet Boo’s younger brother and not necessarily buying the idea that the two were that similar.

Later, Carmichael’s father went to a week-long military camp in New Jersey, and Boo and his younger brother were there. When Bernard returned, he told Carmichael about the encounter with Worilds.

“It was crazy how similar y’all dudes were,” Bernard said at the time. “Y’all dudes are going to end up being cool together. There’s something about y’all.”

Years passed. Carmichael, of Clinton, committed to Virginia Tech. Worilds, of Carteret, N.J., committed to Virginia Tech. They had never met each other.

But the spring before he reported to campus, Carmichael attended the Maroon-White spring game. He was there alone. But sitting in the stands, he heard a voice calling his nickname: “Hey, Rock.” He turned around and saw Boo and his younger brother.

Carmichael and Worilds shook hands, exchanged telephone numbers and have been best friends ever since.

“He was my right hand from then on,” Carmichael said. “A lot of people don’t know that story.”

By Mark Viera  |  September 4, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
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