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Dakota Getz was on his way to Western Illinois. Happily. Then, he got the big-time offer. From Okaw Valley Conference West.
Instead of spending the next four years as a Leatherneck, the Meridian two-sport star will be a Hawkeye.
"He didn't ever want to look back and say, 'Hey, I wonder if I could have played at Iowa?' " Meridian coach Eric Hurelbrink said. "We've talked quite a bit about a lot of schools that didn't really look at him and didn't give him anything in the way of feelers."
More than a week after signing with Iowa, Getz and the rest of the Hawks are still feeling giddy. Getz is the first athlete in the 15 years of Meridian to earn a Division I scholarship offer out of high school.
"It's something that comes around once in a lifetime," Getz said. "You've got to hold onto it as long as you can."
Meridian is in the middle of Illini country. But Hurelbrink and Getz are starting to see more black and gold in the school hallways.
"I told him, 'I never thought I'd be a Hawkeye fan,' " Hurelbrink said. "It's hard when you've got a kid like him playing for them not to root for them."
At Iowa, Getz will be paired with another Okaw Valley product, former Tuscola quarterback John Wienke.
"I get the feeling from them that they like to recruit small-town kids," Hurelbrink said. "Not that they're not going to give up on a kid that has a lot of flash and comes from a big city, but just from the feelings I get from them. I think they like to go out and find the kids that are being overlooked a bit who fit their system.
"We've got a great conference. Some of our kids do get overlooked. I kind of thought Dakota was getting overlooked."
As a senior quarterback, Getz threw for 2,440 yards and 23 touchdowns. He ran for 1,775 and 26 touchdowns. He also scored three times on interception returns. His 52 touchdowns tied a state record.
But Getz won't be playing quarterback at Iowa. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder will be used at tight end. He last played the position "a little bit in eighth grade."
How about a tight end option pass?
"I think they put that one in last week," Getz said.
The reality of it started to hit Getz earlier this week. Among a packet of letters from Iowa was one asking for his shirt size, shoe size, hat size, etc. His uniform and equipment will be waiting for him when he arrives in Iowa City.
The Iowa program has been criticized in recent years after a string of off-the-field issues. Hurelbrink said Getz, the son of a police officer, won't be a problem for Kirk Ferentz.
"You better believe he toes the line pretty hard," Hurelbrink said.
Getz doesn't have time to get into trouble. After taking the football team deep into the playoffs, he jumped into basketball. He is the top player on the state's No. 1 Class 1A team.
Getz has been hearing about his college choice during basketball games. On a recent trip to Decatur St. Teresa, fans shouted "Iowa."
"Every time I touched the ball," Getz said.