WILLIAMSTOWN -Garret Butler is an untapped entity, and the Marietta College football team hopes the senior from Williamstown High School can help breath new life into a Pioneer program which has received its share of hard knocks the past few seasons.
On Thursday afternoon, Butler made it official that he will join the Marietta College family in time for his freshman season later this fall.
"A lot of stress has been taken off,' Butler said. "Now that I have this settled, I can feel relaxed."
The first-team, all-state kicker in Class A toyed with the idea of latching on with a school at the Division I or II level, but in the end the campus just minutes from his home across the Ohio River felt like the perfect choice.
"When I went to Marietta College, it seemed like that was where I needed to be for the next four years," Butler said. "I know it sounds weird, but I liked the library and the way it was set up.The stacks are all electronic and they move on their own. It was really organized."
In addition to leading the Williamstown football team into the postseason during his senior year, just weeks earlier Butler played goalkeeper for a Yellowjacket soccer program which claimed its first sectional title since 2008. Butler eventually earned first-team honors as an all-state soccer player.
"I always loved watching Garret play soccer from the time he was probably 7 or 8 years old," said Garret's father, Buddy Butler. "But I think the opportunity is higher in football for him. I'm curious to see what he can do because he has barely scratched the surface - he had never punted a football until he was a sophomore in high school."
Garret Butler didn't become a punter and placekicker for Williamstown until a mutual decision was made between himself and football coach Terry Smith three years ago. One of Butler's greatest assets was turning kickoffs into touchbacks for the opposing team.
"During his junior year, Garret became a weapon," Smith said.
Butler pointed out the difference between training for football compared to soccer.
"Practices in football were more intense," Butler said. "It was kind of scary at first because coach Smith was kind of intimidating."
Staying close to home was vital to Butler's decision for college. In addition to carrying a 3.0 grade-point average, he is a member of the Williamstown Volunteer Fire Department. Butler plans to major in physical therapy at Marietta College.
"Ultimately, it came down to what was going to make Garret happy," said his mother, Suzannah Butler. "I work for Marietta city schools and I am affiliated with the college and the schools, so it's nice to have him joined to where we are working."