It took a first-team all-state selection and a record-setting rushing performance by teammate Daniel Davis to convince Brooke Point offensive tackle Lane Zetty he had the potential to play college football.
For such a smart guy, Zetty was a bit slow on the uptake on this one.
Zetty, whose score on the Scholastic Assessment Test -- 1,340 -- is a total just about any yardage-conscious rusher would envy, appropriately enough experienced this future-in-football revelation while in a classroom. In this case, his global issues course last winter.
"I went downstairs to my fifth-period class and my teacher [Donald Crawford] told me I made all-state," Zetty recalled. "I said, `Excuse me?'"
Though not global, the four-year varsity player is one weighty issue himself -- 6 feet 5, 265 pounds worth, about 20 pounds heavier than last season. And although Davis -- the All-Met Offensive Player of the Year who rushed for 2,041 yards last season to set the Virginia AAA career record of 7,080 -- is no longer around, like any effective offensive lineman, Zetty is looking forward, not back.
"I'm happy I had an opportunity to be able to block for him, but to me, it's pretty much the same thing as losing anybody else I play with," Zetty said. "I don't look at it as a new era. It's just a different team than last year, and I just have to make sure I do my job."
Zetty has chores beyond football. The aspiring Eagle Scout has to complete a project to earn that distinction. One task is to build bluebird houses to hang at Duff McDuff Green Memorial Park this fall.
Badged ones aren't the only scouts Zetty will be chatting with. Those from colleges are likely to come calling on a player USA Today picked as one of the top 25 in the state. Zetty watched Davis, now at the University of North Carolina, handle the recruiting process, but he did so more as a fan than as a peer.
"I thought it was cool to hear him talking about the colleges he visited and the people he'd met and talked to," said Zetty, one of just two juniors on the 1998 Associated Press all-state team. "But I didn't follow it thinking I'd be going through it the next year."
Brooke Point Coach Tom Berry said the offers have not rolled in yet for Zetty. He figures once one major college dangles a scholarship, many others will follow. For now, Berry is just pleased he returns five offensive linemen who lettered last season -- Zetty, Vinnie Stewart, Mike Kessler, Shahrouz Nouri and David Schantz.
"A lot of schools are interested in Lane," Berry said. "It can be like a domino thing. Daniel didn't have any offers when all of a sudden he got Nebraska. Then it was like, `Oh, my God, we have to offer him, too.' I expect that's what happens most of the time anyway. He's going to end up somewhere and make somebody a fine player."
Even though Zetty is likely to increase his name recognition this season, he cannot identify the returning Commonwealth District players he finds toughest to block.
"I'll watch film and see how a guy plays and see what kind of techniques I'll have to use, but if I paid attention to names, I'd drive myself nuts," he said.
"I don't know how much credence I put in a name anyway. Coaches sometimes build somebody up who turns out isn't as good as that. Then some guy you've never heard of puts you back in the backfield."