Every year Army football signs scores of new players to wear the West Point Black and Gold. One player who recently inked with the Black Knights is punter Will Hetzinger from Hammond, Louisiana. At first glance you might roll your eyes at the sight of an article about a punter but read on, Hetzinger is not just a punter, he’s a football player too.
What would it mean for Army during punting situations to have 11 players on the field who have the ability to flatten the opposing returner? In Will Hetzinger from Saint Thomas Aquinas in Hammond, La., the Black Knights may just have a situation like that in their future.
You see, Hetzinger has played a variety of positions for the Falcons. An athletic type at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, the multi-sport star played several positions for his team including defensive end, linebacker, wide receiver and free safety in addition to punting. On the defensive side, he finished his season year with 46 tackles, five sacks, three fumbles and two interceptions. On offense, he had nine catches for 119 yards.
Hetzinger was a player that his team could count on when games got tight. His performance against the rival Amite Warriors provides us with an example of his headiness as a player. In the fourth
quarter, Aquinas was clinging to a 24-20 lead over Amite but the Warriors were driving on Hetzinger’s team and threatening to wreck the day. Hetzinger, playing out of position, intercepted a pass on third down to seal the win for Aquinas. Hetzinger later reflected on that game.
“The play itself was special, but the most memorable thing about it to me was the fact that I had to play cornerback rather than defensive end due to a series of injuries on my team.”
Hetzinger says he fell in love with Army during a recruiting visit set up by Army assistant coach Mike Viti.
“This past summer I made a visit to West Point with my little brother to tour the campus, meet coaches, and participate in one of Army’s football camps, Hetzinger said. “Every single person I spoke to knew the two of us by name and was eager to show us around. The camp was by far the most organized out of any football camp I’ve been to, and the coaches provided plenty of individual instruction which really showed how dedicated they were to their players. Besides the football aspects, I was blown away by the campus itself. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful setting.”
The Louisiana native knows he’s in for much more than just a run of the mill college education.
“Knowing that I will one day be an officer in the Army is the most fulfilling feeling in the world,” Hetzinger said. “To know that I am going to be a part of something greater than myself in servicing my nation is something I will always treasure.”
We almost forgot punting! Hetzinger is an excellent punter. Rated 4-stars by Kohl’s Kicking, as a senior Hetzinger averaged 41.7 yards on 59 punts. His longest punt spanned 61 yards. He had one boot go for 69 yards as a junior. He says his hang time runs about 4.3 seconds but he’s had some punts hang for over five seconds. Following his senior season, he earned first-team Louisiana All-State honors (2A).
Overall, Hetzinger looks like a good football player and a solid young man. He should be a versatile player for the Army Black Knights and a fine future Army officer.
Proud to announce that I am committed to Army West Point⚔️ #GoArmy #BeatNavy pic.twitter.com/vcaZm1Gfb8
— Will Hetzinger (@Whetzinger) November 7, 2017