Hard Hat Awards And The Virginia Tech Offseason

Virginia Tech
Jarrod Hewitt is probably Virginia Tech’s Player of the Offseason. (Photo by Virginia Tech)

In keeping with Brandon Patterson’s theme of strength and conditioning, today I want to talk about Virginia Tech’s Hard Hat winners for 2019.  For those of you who remember Mike Gentry’s strength and conditioning awards such as the Excalibur Award, Super Iron Hokie, Iron Hokie, etc., the Hard Hat program is Ben Hilgart’s version of the same thing.

Here’s how a player wins a Hard Hat Award, according to Virginia Tech: “In addition to meeting or exceeding physical performance and testing goals, attitude, enthusiasm and leadership are also factored into the equation.”

Most of it is decided by pure math.  How much do you lift, how fast do you run and how high can you jump, with your height and weight factored in?  I don’t know exactly what Hilgart’s formula is, but he certainly has one.  And of course, bonus points are given for having a positive attitude and being a good leader. 

Naturally, Jarrod Hewitt won the competition.  Colleges can’t release weight room numbers anymore because of NCAA rules, but according to his Twitter profile, Hewitt set three personal records in the weight room this spring.  He benched 420 and he squatted 590.  I’m not sure what the other personal record was, but I’m sure it was impressive.  Factor that in with the facts that he loves the weight room and he’s assumed perhaps the No. 1 leadership position on the team since the end of the season, and I’m guessing he finished first by a fairly wide margin.  That’s not an insult to any of the other players, either.  Hewitt is one of the best strength and conditioning athletes Virginia Tech has ever had.