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Distinguished Gentlemen

As someone who has covered their careers since they were high school sophomores, it’s gratifying to see Luke Getsy and Tyler Palko both have a shot at playing in the National Football League.

If there’s one unfortunate twist to their story, it’s that they arrived at the same time and have had to share everything from headlines to playing time throughout their careers.

Here’s a timeline of how things played out:

Although he previously declared that he would recruit one quarterback in every class, then-Pitt coach Walt Harris gambled by not taking one in 2001 – specifically, this guy – in order to take two the following year. Harris wanted both Palko and Getsy and offered scholarships to both on Sept. 1 of their junior years, the first day he was permitted to do so.

After leading West Allegheny to back-to-back WPIAL Class AAA championships – and twice being named Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Player of the Year – Palko was one of the nation’s most coveted prospects. Some liked him at safety, but Palko insisted he would play quarterback.

When Palko made a verbal commitment to the Panthers in June before his senior season, that left Getsy in the unfamiliar role as the best available quarterback prospect in the WPIAL.

The story took another twist when, after plucking Palko, Pitt pulled Getsy’s scholarship offer. Harris later reconsidered, and re-offered Getsy on the condition that he commit. When February rolled around, the Panthers signed both Palko and Getsy.

Palko was expected to compete immediately for the starting job, but tendonitis in his left (throwing) hand cost him an opportunity to battle Rod Rutherford. Palko spent his freshman season as the backup, while Getsy led the scout team. The next season, they flip-flopped roles, which led to this interesting development.

Perhaps that should serve as a warning to Pat Bostick.

Alas, when it came time for Palko and Getsy to duel for the starting job in 2004, Harris chose Palko and Getsy transferred to Akron. It was an unfortunate but not totally unexpected conclusion to their time together at Pitt.

As it turns out, both might be the better for what happened. They had terrific college careers and could be second-day selections this weekend in the NFL Draft. This time, they can take comfort in knowing that it won’t be by the same team.

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