Former Virginia Tech Wide Receiver Ernest Wilford Making a Difference as Police Officer in Jacksonville

Bryan Manning

Ernest Wilford is one of the most prolific wide receivers in Virginia Tech history. When Wilford graduated at the conclusion of the 2003 season, he was the school’s all-time leader in career receptions.

Wilford held other records, such as the most receptions in a single season, most receiving yards in a game and most touchdown receptions in a game. While Wilford has fallen down the list in career numbers in recent seasons, he still holds single-game records for most yards (279) and touchdown receptions (four).

Wilford had a terrific career in Blacksburg, but unfortunately, most will only remember the dropped two-point conversion in a loss to Miami in 2001 that would’ve tied the game.

After his time in Blacksburg was up, the former All-Big East standout would enjoy a productive seven-year career in the NFL. Wilford spent four years with the Jacksonville Jaguars one with the Miami Dolphins before returning to Jacksonville for his final two seasons in 2009 and 2010.

Once his playing career ended, Wilford would join the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, where he remains today.

Last week, Wilford joined current players on the Jaguars for a march from the team’s stadium to the sheriff’s office to protest police brutality and systemic racism.

Afterward, Wilford spoke with WJXT to speak about why this is important to him.

“I was a Jaguar for seven years in the league and I’ve been a police officer for six years, but for 41 years I’ve been a black man,” Wilford said. “It’s very important I use my platform to let everyone know that black lives do matter. The murder of George Floyd was unbearable and it hurts. I want to make sure that I show my solidarity and let everyone know that I hear the voices and I want change. In order for change to be made, I have to show my support, so I will be that voice.”

It’s good to see a former Hokie continuing to make a positive impact in the lives of others long after his football career ended. 

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