Player profile: Jamie DeRatt on and off the court

Junior outside hitter Jamie DeRatt (9) lines up a serve. DeRatt leads the team in kills, 224, and won SoCon Offensive Player of the Month for her performance throughout the September.Photo by: Christal Riley

Zakyra Colvin

Just two weeks ago, on top of earning her second volleyball Southern Conference offensive player of the week title, junior outside hitter Jamie DeRatt set a career high of 23 kills and 19 digs all in the same week.

As recent as yesterday, DeRatt was named SoCon Volleyball Offensive Athlete of the Month. The 5-foot-9-inch outside hitter is not only a great player on the court, but also balanced off the court, head coach Dustin Wood said.

“She’s a hard worker. She’s a very coachable kid that does well academically,” Wood said.  “She’s a great kid with a great attitude and she comes to play and comes to win.”

DeRatt began playing volleyball in the sixth grade after watching her two older sisters. After playing both volleyball and soccer for years, she had to make the tough decision of which one she wanted to continue playing in college.

During her junior year of high school, DeRatt decided that she wanted to play college volleyball instead of college soccer, so she quit playing traveling soccer and started focusing on volleyball.

“Soccer was definitely my first love,” DeRatt said. “I grew up playing it, but volleyball was different and really caught my attention. It was much faster paced than soccer.”

DeRatt’s biggest fans are her parents and her grandfather.

“My parents are huge Georgia Southern groupies,” DeRatt said. “They come to every single game.  When we went to Costa Rica the summer of my freshman year, my parents came to Costa Rica to watch us play.”

The other supporter is her grandfather, who she calls “Grandy.” He went to every single game for her and her sisters until he had a stroke. Now, he watches her games online.

“My dad got an account set up, so he is still there. He wears his Georgia Southern volleyball hat and watches the games online,” DeRatt said.

Being a student athlete is a lot of work, but DeRatt manages to balance her academics and social life, while playing volleyball.

“I try to do my work before we travel for weekend games,” DeRatt said.  “I’m up late a lot of nights and I just try to get that done ahead of time and when the weekend comes, I don’t have to worry about school, I can focus on volleyball.”

Before a game or even during workouts, the players like to listen to rap music to get them “pumped up.”

“We like to listen to a lot of rap music and we like to get very hype,” DeRatt said. “2 Chainz is always on,” she said.

Having a social life is pretty hard with 6:30 a.m. practices, so DeRatt leaves hanging out with friends and other hobbies, like painting, for the weekend.

DeRatt has accomplished a lot so far in her volleyball career.  Right now, she leads the Eagles offensively with 224 kills and an average of 3.73 kills per set.

“I feel like I’m finding myself more as a volleyball player,” DeRatt said. “I’m continuing to learn and improve on things. I feel like I still have a lot to learn and keep growing as a volleyball player.”

“We’ve seen a lot of changes from her from last year to this year, and those improvements have been big strides that are helping her play the game better,” Wood said.

After college, DeRatt has graduate school in her sights. The junior would like to pursue a career in sports management. If the opportunity presented itself, DeRatt would pursue volleyball after college, but graduate school is what she sees as her next step after college.

”I’m a big team player. I like to give credit where credit is due,” DeRatt said. “ I like to lead by example. I don’t like to put others down. I like to pick them up. I just think that having a positive attitude all of the time is really good because then others won’t get down, and they can still perform to their highest level.”

DeRatt and the Eagles will play their next conference match against the University of North Carolina at Greensboro tomorrow at 7 p.m.