MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR | Schaetzke Leads Renaissance
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012 20:05
No one played a bigger role in bringing Georgetown’s football team (8-3, 3-2 Patriot League in 2011) back to relevance — and their first winning season since 1999 — than senior defensive end Andrew Schaetzke.
The ninth consensus All-American in the Patriot League’s history, Schaetzke wrote his name in the record books with 30.5 career sacks, the second-highest tally of all time on the Hilltop and third highest in the conference’s history.
But for someone who has made such a big impact, Schaetzke almost didn’t make to Georgetown. The Toledo, Ohio, native initially committed to a Mid-American Conference school but was left in the lurch when his offer was rescinded.
The Georgetown coaching staff encountered Schaetzke when it recruited one of his high school teammates, Rick Rattay. Rattay’s father served as an assistant coach for the high school team and recommended that Georgetown take a look at Schaetzke.
“We took his transcript back and took a look at it and watched a film and immediately … [knew] he’d be an excellent college football player,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “We invited him on campus for a visit, and he liked it.”
So Schaetzke headed to Washington with Rattay — who played two seasons for Georgetown before sitting out the last two with an injury. Once there, Schaetzke made an immediate
mpact on the gridiron.
"I could tell right away after the first practice he was going to be something special, and four years later, we are talking about a very special football player here at Georgetown," Kelly said.
A three-sport athlete in high school, Schaetzke is perhaps most impressive because of the athleticism he carries with his 6-foot-4, 265-pound frame.
"He runs extremely well. He stays on his feet, very quick. If you watch a lot of his plays, you see him chasing a running back right down the line of scrimmage out in the perimeter. That’s something that we’re going to miss," Kelly said. "People had fits trying to block him because of the athleticism."
That ability proved invaluable for the Blue and Gray. A starter in every game of his last three seasons for Georgetown, Schaetzke excelled in his junior season — when he was named to the all-Patriot League first team — despite missing all of that season’s spring practice with an injury.
But he saved the best for his senior season. Leading the Hoyas to a winning season and a chance to play for the league championship, Schaetzke was first in the Patriot League in both sacks and tackles for loss. Even more impressively, his 13 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss ranked him eighth and sixth in the nation, respectively.
Like many great players, though, Schaetzke’s leadership isn’t just around the line of scrimmage.
"Very early on in camp, [Schaetzke] spoke to me about how I could have a big impact for the team, which made me work harder and guided me on the proper technique to play effectively on the defensive front," defensive lineman Jordan Richardson, a rising sophomore, said. "I think it is fair for me to say that not only did I, but [also] the other freshman across the entire defense, look up to him and follow his lead in practice and in games."
Just as he helped his teammates in practice, his upbeat attitude made a big difference when the going got tough.
"I think the team will miss his bubbly personality, and he’s kind of carefree in a way, which is a good thing," Kelly said. "I think he relaxed a lot of guys before ballgames, and during the games, he had a real desire to be successful with a relaxed aspect to him. Guys in stressful situations looked to Andrew for that leadership."
In the classroom, too, Schaetzke has made his team proud. While he spent last weekend at the Cincinnati Bengals’ mini-camp, Schaetzke will graduate tomorrow from the McDonough School of Business with a degree in finance.
"I’m proud of his athletic accomplishments, but he’s got a 3.2 GPA in the business school. If the football thing doesn’t work out, he’s going to be in the business world and, you know, a great ambassador for Georgetown University, which says a lot for him," Kelly said.
Georgetown football hasn’t been perfect over the last four years — in fact, it was just the opposite in 2009, when the squad was winless — but the Hoyas finally asserted themselves this year, thanks in large part to Andrew Schaetzke.
"He’s a true success story. [He came] from a blue-collar family. He’s done well academically here. He’s done well football-wise," Kelly said. "He’s the biggest impact player I’ve seen since I’ve been here."