Air Force Getz another steal

For folks around Gwinnett County, this small pocket of heavily condensed high school football talent, the recruitment of Buford running back Cody Getz feels like déjà vu.

The same story unfolded five years ago with the same type of kid - a tough, super-quick back at a small high school who was underestimated by most college recruiters because he was vertically challenged.

That kid was Chad Hall.

Then a Wesleyan senior, he was generously listed a 5-foot-8, a height that typically turns off the Division I coaches. The three-sport star loved football, but most high-level powers weren't willing to take a chance like Air Force - which gave a similar shot this year to Getz, a Falcon commitment.

All Hall did was at Air Force was amass 4,000-plus all-purpose yards, including an academy-record 2,504 his senior season. That 2007 season, the Heisman Trophy candidate had 1,415 rushing yards and 488 receiving yards, making him the only player in the nation to lead his team in both categories.

Too often high school kids like that are overlooked because of their height. A football player is a football player, and Hall was definitely that.

So is Getz, the latest overlooked Gwinnett back that Air Force locked up.

All the big-time SEC schools wanted the Buford speedster to walk on, but he chose a service academy that had faith in his ability. I don't think the Falcons will be disappointed.

Getz was perhaps the county's most exciting offensive player last season, scoring 27 touchdowns for the Class AA state champions. He was at his finest in the state title game, rushing for 233 yards and four scores, a show that wasn't enough to sway too many D-I recruiters.

By then, Air Force had already offered. The school knew it was getting a good kid with exceptional speed, but also one that - like Hall - is loaded with strength (pound for pound he's the strongest player in a stacked Buford program). He just happens to be 5-7.

But that didn't bother Air Force, a program that got another Gwinnett steal. Soon the Falcons' fans will see another local back making big plays and maybe they'll think back to Chad Hall.

And maybe get their own case of déjà vu.

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays.