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Rick Devens understands alliances better than most

by Travis Williams

Jeff Probst awards Rick Devens with the Immunity Necklace

IMMUNITY: Show host Jeff Probst awards Rick Devens with the Immunity Necklace during the 10th episode of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Like many Hokies, Rick Devens aimed to survive the first few weeks of May.

Unlike others, however, the 2006 graduate did so in front of millions of viewers.

Devens was one of 18 people selected to take part in the most recent iteration of CBS’ Emmy Award-winning reality television competition, “Survivor: Edge of Extinction.” In its 38th season, the show, which airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m., channels participants, also known as castaways, through a series of physical, mental, and social challenges, which are compounded by the emotional weight of living in a remote, exotic location. The lone “Survivor” of this gauntlet earns a $1 million prize.

A graduate of nearby Blacksburg High School, Devens studied communications at Virginia Tech and currently works as a newscaster in Macon, Georgia.

Entering the final month of the show, he fought his way back into the game by winning a hotly contested challenge after he had been voted off by his fellow contestants and banished to the “Edge of Extinction.” We connected to ask Devens a few questions just prior to the season’s final episodes.

on the roof

Rick Devens (center) competing during the eighth episode of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction.” on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What motivated you to try out for “Survivor”?

I've been a huge “Survivor” fan since season 1. It's a big show in my family. I like the outdoors. I'm an Eagle Scout. I've always wanted to see if I could manage out there.

What was your first thought when you realized you were going to be on this show?

My first thought was, “I have a lot of work to do around the house to get ready.” I was leaving my wife with two kids, two dogs, and two cats. I had to make sure that I did not leave her with all the bills to pay and other things that could be addressed in advance.

What did you expect would be the hardest aspect of the competition for you?

I wasn’t sure what the most challenging areas would be. I feel like I’m pretty well-rounded, but not great at anything. I had a very ’take it as it comes’ approach. So much depends on who you land on the island with.

Rick Devens

Rick Devens

What did you most enjoy about being at Virginia Tech?

I love everything about Virginia Tech. My favorite thing was the intramural sports. My teammates on the Hobbes’ intramural sports franchise are still my best friends. I love jumping up and down to “Enter Sandman.” Some of my favorite professors are still at Virginia Tech, including Wat Hopkins and Derley Aguilar.

How do you think your experiences at Tech—in the classroom, extracurriculars, socially, etc.—helped you during the show?

No doubt the fact that I participated in every possible intramural activity made me a well-rounded challenge player. I loved playing pick-up ball at the War Memorial Gym and meeting all types of people around campus. I certainly developed a lot of my social skills in and around downtown Blacksburg.