Cody Getz spent his first three years at the United States Air Force Academy playing behind old friend Asher Clark, whom he grew up with in Lawrenceville. As a senior, however, Getz took over at running back and has certainly seized the opportunity to start for the Falcons.
Getz is a star on this year’s Air Force team, leading the Falcons in rushing with 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns on 191 carries, but he says his experience playing behind Clark was invaluable.
“I learned a lot from him,” Getz said. “He helped me out a lot with the offense here, and he taught me how to get through the Academy.”
All of these lessons helped Getz evolve into the leader that Air Force needed him to be this season.
“This was my year to step up,” Getz said.
Even though playing for Air Force has been a completely different experience than playing for perennial high school powerhouse Buford, Getz believes that much of what he learned at Buford carried over to his play in college.
“Work ethic. That’s one thing we learned at Buford,” Getz said. “Just coming to work every day, bringing your best, and practicing hard.”
Playing for Buford was a large part of Getz’s career, so whenever he gets a break for winter, he makes sure to go back and visit along with spending time with family.
“Its always good to come home,” Getz said. “All of my buddies are waiting for me, my parents are excited, grandparents are excited. It’s just a great time to see old faces. I like going back to Buford and seeing all the coaches and seeing my teachers.”
Not only has the playing style been different in college for Getz, the school experience is unique as well. Getz said that while most people return home after college to find jobs and start families, those at Air Force and other military schools, like Army and Navy, leave college only to enter into more training.
“Its been weird seeing all of your friends leave and go off to do great things in the Air Force,” Getz said. “It’s a cool experience.”
After Getz graduates this spring, however, he will be able to stay with the team for one more year.
“I actually got a graduate assistant job for next year,” Getz said. “I got an assistant coach job, so I’ll be with the team next year, then I’ll go off to do pilot training.”
While many of Getz’s friends from Air Force have graduated and entered the military or other work forces, others of his friends are right next to him on the sidelines each night.
“I’ve got a tight knit senior group,” Getz said. “We’re really good friends this year.”
Getz and this close group of teammates have one final game to line up next to each other as they face Rice in the Armed Forces Bowl at 11:45 a.m. today in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Its going to be weird,” Getz said of taking the field for the last time in an Air Force uniform.
Win or lose, Getz would consider this season a success for himself and the Air Force Falcons, and this weekend could be one of his best memories from his college playing career.
“Just making it to a bowl game,” Getz said. “That sixth win is huge for us. A lot of people didn’t think we could do it this year. It’s going to be my last game ever, so I just hope to get a W.”