College football: Patriots’ Pettit fulfills dream

By ANDREW WILLIAMS
STAFF WRITER
When Patrick Henry senior Colt Pettit was a young boy, his father made his older brother and him a deal.
“One day when my brother was, I’d say 7th or 8th grade, and I was in kindergarten I believe, my dad promised us both that if we ever got a full-ride scholarship for academics, football, any sport in general, he’d buy us a car,” Pettit said.
“I got a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500. That’s a truck, so I was happy with it.”
Pettit’s father held up his end of the deal and this afternoon, Pettit will officially complete his.
The 6-foot-4, 250 pound offensive lineman will be surrounded by family, coaches and friends as he signs a National Letter of Intent to continue his football career this fall at Virginia Tech.
While Pettit said the enormity of the situation has begun to hit him slowly, he is looking forward to inking his name and making his intentions to become a Hokie official.
“It’s mixed feelings, honestly,” he said. “Been waiting for this day … my whole life. It’s a dream come true. I’m sad to see the recruiting process over but definitely glad it’s over, too. It was a wild time and I’m just glad to be, kind of in a way, starting a new chapter in my life so it’s very exciting.”
In his four years at Patrick Henry, Pettit helped the Patriots to a 36-11 record and made three trips to the state playoffs. He was named a first-team All-Ohio defensive lineman and Division VI co-defensive player of the year in 2013 and was selected first team All-Ohio as an offensive lineman in 2012.
For a young man who grew up in the small town of Deshler and played at a school the size of Patrick Henry, signing to play football in the Atlantic Coast Conference is a major achievement.
Bill Inselmann, who stepped down as head coach of the Patriots at the end of the 2013 season, said in his 23 years at the head of the program, Pettit is only the third PH player to receive a Division I offer. The other two are current Houston Astros outfielder Marc Krauss and Colt’s older brother Cody, who just finished his final season as an offensive lineman at Central Michigan.
“Well, it’s really neat for a small school like ours,” Inselmann said. “It’s not an everyday occurrence, obviously.
“Colt, first of all, is such a deserving young man both as a football player and just as a person. It’s really neat to see somebody like that, who’s just a great role model both on and off the field, get the recognition and get the opportunity that he’s going to get to play at the next level.”
Pettit said the biggest transition for him will be leaving his family for the first time when he departs for his freshman year in Blacksburg, Va., about 420 miles from his hometown. He believes his is ready for that adjustment, though, as well as the increased workload and level of competition he will experience in major college football.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to be a big jump,” he said. “There’s a lot of great teams, great smaller schools in the area but it’s nothing like going to the ACC. So, I’m just trying to prepare myself to the best of my ability. I’ve just got to work as hard as I can because of … the upped level of competition.”
By the end of the recruiting process, Pettit said he received about 20 offers, but ultimately decided on Virginia Tech because he “really felt like it was a true home.”
After speaking with offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, he expects to enter as a center or guard, depending on which is the best fit for both sides.
Inselmann believes no matter where Pettit lines up in terms of position, he already has all the tools to be successful.
“I think he’s got a good head on his shoulders,” Inselmann said. “There’s going to be a lot of adjustments that he’s going to have to make. Every time you get to another level, you’re going to start at the bottom of the ladder. Colt’s the type of he kid, he’s got a great work ethic and he listens. He’s a very disciplined young man. If you want to see what it’s going to take to be successful at any level in anything, it’s a work ethic and discipline. He’s got both those.”
While he’s still months away from joining the Hokies in body, Pettit is busy finishing up his senior year and heeding his brother’s advice to enjoy the process he has been through that will culminate this afternoon with the swish of a pen.
“It’s going to be pretty thrilling,” he said. “I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a dream come true. Just sitting there, just with my family, coaches, everyone who’s ever helped me out for the most part, it’s just going to be a great feeling. It’ll be a great experience and one that I’ll remember and cherish for the rest of my life.”
Williams, 419-427-8407
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