Thursday, April 25, 2013

This Navy Gridiron Great Has a Pretty Bright Future

Our service academies aren't really much known for developing NFL talent, but Navy linebacker Keegan Wetzel could hear his name called during the NFL Draft, which starts tonight and concludes on Saturday. Wetzel is profiled today in the Annapolis, Md., Capital Gazette, and his inspiring story deserves broad commendation.

Navy competes admirably and successfully in the top division of NCAA college football, and after a standout senior season, Wetzel has had contact with a handful of NFL teams this spring. His football stats are tremendous, but pro football teams likely have additional cause for their interest in the linebacker. The Gazette notes that Wetzel is one serious scholar athlete:

Wetzel, who earned the Tony Rubino Silver Helmet Award as Navy's Most Outstanding Player from the Touchdown Club of Annapolis, is thought to be the first Football Subdivision player to score a perfect 1,600 on the Scholastic Assessment Test. He boasts a 3.91 grade point average as a systems engineering major and was selected a first-team Academic All-American by Capital One. 

Yesterday's Nuclear Notes brought attention to the new agreement the U.S. nuclear industry has forged with the Navy to help place nuclear Navy personnel in civilian nuclear careers. That's a program Wetzel might one day access: This October 13 he departs for the Navy's Nuclear Power School in Charleston, S.C. He'll spend six months in the classroom and six more months working on a reactor. And even if his name gets called in the draft the next couple of days, he'll have two years of obligation to the Navy to fulfill. One thing's for sure -- his future is exceptionally bright.

This Saturday, the Washington Nationals will honor the Navy football team before their game against the Cincinnati Reds -- a most deserving acknowledgment. We have quite a few Nats' fans at NEI, and you can bet that NEI staffers at the ballgame Saturday are likely to cheer extra loudly during the acknowledgment.     

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