Gettis is a playmaker for Missouri’s defense

By Nate Latsch
September 29, 2010

Missouri senior cornerback Carl Gettis has seen it all.

Gettis transferred from a high school in Tennessee to O�Fallon, Mo., for his senior year. He picked the Tigers during the fall of his senior year over interest from Miami (Ohio), Kansas and Kansas State among others.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder is now a four-year starter for Missouri, with 41 starts in 45 career games, and has had a roller coaster of a career with the Tigers.

�You experience a lot,� Gettis said. �So I�ve been at the top and I�ve been at the bottom. This year I�ve really just been focused on the positive, remaining positive, using positive affirmations and just being positive in myself and more confident as a person and as a football player.�

Missouri�s pass defense was an issue the last two seasons. The Tigers ranked 11th in the Big 12 Conference in pass defense in 2009 (251.5 yards per game) and last in 2008 (286.6 yards per game).

Gettis, who had two interceptions and 10 pass break-ups in his first three years, was a target of criticism as one of the starting cornerbacks during both of those seasons. But through the first four games of 2010, Gettis has emerged as one of the leaders of the Tigers defense.

He has made several big plays already for Missouri (4-0), which is off this week before hosting Colorado in the Tigers� Big 12 Conference opener next weekend.

�It�s great just to be able to come in and be an impact player and make a play for your defense when you need it,� Gettis said. �I�m just glad that I can be part of a great defense and just be a leader on this team.�

Gettis worked hard in the offseason to improve his body and his attitude.

�I got in better shape,� he said. �I lost some weight and put on more muscle. It was more so just a mindset thing. I changed my mindset. I came in with a new mindset this year that even if something bad does happen, stay positive, remain positive, and just wait for that big play to happen.�

He has made plenty of big plays this season.

�These first four games, I�ve never seen Carl at this level come out there and just really play ball every game,� senior cornerback Kevin Rutland said. �There hasn�t been a game where he has come out and not made a big play for the defense or a few big plays for the defense. He�s everywhere.�

Gettis had a one-handed interception and downed a punt at the 1-yard line in the second half against Illinois as the Tigers rallied for a 23-13 win. He returned a punt 41 yards for a touchdown against McNeese State, but the play was called back because of a penalty.

He made a clutch stop on third down with 1 minute and 29 seconds left against San Diego State, which forced the Aztecs to punt and led to the Tigers� dramatic last-minute touchdown pass to pull out the come-from-behind victory.

�He has got to be one of the best corners in the conference and the Big 12 Conference is stacked with a lot of good defensive players,� said sophomore wide receiver T.J. Moe, who played with Gettis at Zumwalt West High School for one season. �He is exceptional. He�s had a phenomenal year. He worked so hard in the offseason. He definitely earned it. He�s not just coming out here by chance. He did a lot of things to make himself a better player and have a great senior year and he has started off really well.�

On the first play of Saturday�s game against visiting Miami (Ohio), Gettis scooped up a fumble and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown and an early 7-0 lead as the Tigers rolled to a 51-13 victory.

�It�s a great feeling anytime you can come out here and help your defense, come out here and make plays for your defense and even get a score and get takeaways for your defense,� Gettis said. �Guys are going to look to you to make plays and I just want to be a playmaker for this team.�