His old high school football coach said it best.
“I think RG3 just got a new personal body guard,” Lincoln-Way East’s Rob Zvonar said after the Washington Redskins picked Adam Gettis in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday afternoon.
Gettis, 6 feet 2 and 293 pounds, is an offensive guard who played three years at Lincoln-Way East (2004-2006) and then went on to win the Hayden Fry “Extra Heartbeat” Award as a senior at the Iowa. Gettis earned second-team All-Big Ten honors while helping the Hawkeyes post a 7-6 record.
His college career ended with a thud: Iowa dropped a 31-14 decision to Oklahoma in the Insight Bowl.
His pro career began with the phone ringing and his closest friends and family hooting and hollering in the background. The Redskins made Gettis the 141st player selected in the draft. He joins a class that includes Robert Griffin III, the quarterback from Baylor who the ’Skins nabbed with the No. 2 pick in the draft.
Gettis met Griffin at the NFL combine.
“He’s a great person and a great athlete,” Gettis said in a telephone interview from his grandparents’ home in Chicago. “I met him at the combine. I’m just glad I’ll have the opportunity to work with him.
“He’s fast. He can run, I can tell you that. He didn’t do everything at the combine. But what he did, he did very well. He has a killer instinct about him. I like that in a quarterback.”
Gettis is the first player from Lincoln-Way East ever selected in the NFL draft and the second from the Lincoln-Way school district. The New Orleans Saints picked Rob Ninkovich in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. He is now an outside linebacker with the New England Patriots.
“I was privileged enough to be able to spend some time with Rob (Ninkovich) back at the time when our school’s were about to split,” Zvonar said. “He graduated from Lincoln-Way Central. Adam (Gettis) is the first from Lincoln-Way East to be drafted and the second from our district.
“Anybody who’s every been around him knows that he’s a special individual. He was a three-year starter for us. But he was only about 220 or 225 pounds coming out of high school. We’ll be forever indebted to the staff at Iowa for taking a shot on him. They got him into their strength program and built up his size.
“And when you start for Iowa—with their rich tradition of producing offensive linemen—you know you’re going to have a chance to play in the NFL. I feel blessed to have played some small part in Adam’s journey. I know he will continue to work hard. He’s a class act. And he will represent the Washington Redskins very well.”
Gettis said he has dreamed of playing pro football since he was a little boy. His parents—Felicia and Dexter Gettis of Frankfort—have followed him every step of the way. And he expects that will continue.
Gettis reports to his first mini-camp on Saturday, May 5.
“They’re excited; they’re ready to go,” Gettis said of his parents’ reaction. “They’ve got season tickets for the rest of their lives. That shouldn’t be a problem.”