Villanova Football Co-Captain Forrest Rhyne was a staple of Villanova’s defensive front this season. He led the team in tackles with 116, 14.5 of which were for a loss of yards, while also tallying 6.5 sacks.
Rhyne has the type of humble attitude that can only come from being one of the only people to ever achieve what he has achieved from when he began his football career.
Growing up in Waynesboro, a small Pennsylvania town with just over 10,000 residents, he began playing football at the age of four and never stopped.
Rhyne graduated with the class of 2017 at Waynesboro High School and is one of the first Division 1 players to come from his school.
“It was kind of surreal going through the process and actually having coaches come to the school to look at me and stuff like that,” he said. “It was a huge blessing.”
He received multiple offers to play in the CAA, as well as the Patriot League, but what drew him to Villanova was the family aspect he felt when he visited, as well as the strong academics Villanova has to offer.
“When I visited here, it just really felt like family. I love the coaches, I love the players, and obviously I love the academic portion of it,” he said. “My mom always told me ‘go somewhere with really good academics, it’ll set you up for life,’ and I knew this was the right school for that.”
This season, Rhyne earned CAA Co-Defensive Player of the Week with 15 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in a 35-28 win over William & Mary on October 5. These were season highs in all four categories for him.
Rhyne placed praise on Defensive Coordinator Ola Adams for setting him up for success in the game.
“It was a great game plan that Coach Ola put together for us,” Rhyne said. “Everybody played well. I was just able to see a couple things, make a couple plays. I was extremely blessed and honored to receive the Defensive Player of the Week.”
He added that William & Mary’s Offensive Coordinator was his high school coach, saying that it was awesome to play against him for a change.
As his junior season came to a close, Rhyne reflected on what it meant to step out onto the field in Villanova’s colors.
“It means everything,” he said. “This university has done so much for me, whether it comes to education, setting me up for later in life or just the brotherhood aspect we’ve had this year. It’s just been crazy. 88 strong has been our mantra this year.”
88 refers to the number of players on the roster, meaning that they’re strongest as one.
“It’s a family,” he said. “Getting to know all these dudes’ families, the coaches families, we’ve all become so close. I wouldn’t rather suit up for anybody else.”
For many people, being named captain might create a sense of self-entitlement, as a captain is expected to lead others. For Rhyne, this could not be farther from the truth.
As a captain for the 2019 season, Rhyne downplayed the significance of the individual. Instead, he praised his teammates.
“I think that we had a lot of really good candidates for captain this year,” he said. “One of our big things was that we tried to get everybody on the team to actually be a captain in their own way or a leader in their own way. Because if you have 88 leaders on the team, we should all be holding each other accountable, policing our own.”
He then elaborated on the impact being named a captain had on the culture of the team.
“Nothing really changed after we were voted captains,” he said. “Everybody continued to do their same thing; just because you have a “C” on your chest doesn’t mean that you should be changing how you act or just using your power.”