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Gazette Premium Content Air Force's Calhoun pleased with 'quality' recruiting class

FRANK SCHWAB Updated: February 2, 2011 at 12:00 am

Air Force’s coaches are assigned different parts of the country to recruit, but all of them recruit Colorado. For Troy Calhoun’s first few years, that seemed like a waste of resources.

Air Force had only two in-state players on their first- or second-team offense or defense last season: fullback Nathan Walker and linebacker Jamil Cooks, who are both from Colorado Springs. But this year, the Falcons landed a talented and larger-than-normal group of recruits from Colorado.

Quarterback Jaleel Awini, who won the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year award for Rangeview High in Aurora, receiver Christian Gann of Chaparral in Parker, linebacker Connor Healy of Mullen in Denver, tight end Drew Dyer of Regis Jesuit in Aurora, linebacker Ian Imamura of Pueblo West and linebacker Patrick Stevenson of Fountain-Fort Carson are among the in-state players who have stated they have committed to play football at Air Force.

“I think the success they’ve been having – four straight bowl games, and four straight winning seasons – to be honest, they’re the best Colorado team right now,” said Awini, who will go to the prep school this fall.

Wednesday was signing day in college football, and while the Falcons don’t announce the incoming players because of the appointment process for a service academy, one of the interesting trends of the unofficial list of recruits was the heavy dose of Colorado players. Calhoun, without commenting on any specific players, confirmed that becoming a bigger presence in Colorado was a goal, although he said there were more viable candidates than normal in state this year.  

“When you look back through the years, whenever we’ve had really good football teams at the Air Force Academy, almost invariably we’ve had a couple Colorado kids that have played significantly or been starters,” Calhoun said. “We’re going to know every kid in the state.”

Awini said he chose Air Force over Indiana, Vanderbilt and Colorado State. The others had options, too. Healy had interest from San Diego State, Wyoming, Colorado State and had started talking to Vanderbilt.

“To be honest, Air Force is probably a better team than most of those others,” Healy said.

Healy’s family had been going to Air Force home games since the family moved to Colorado when Connor was about 5 years old. Others may not have had that longtime connection with Air Force, but the Falcons’ recent success – along with the struggles of Colorado and Colorado State – has made Air Force a more attractive option.

“I don’t know why more kids from Colorado don’t go there,” Gann said.

The Colorado recruits have struck up a friendship, mostly through Facebook. Awini said there has been talk among them of being “hometown heroes” at Air Force, with high hopes of starting a trend for future in-state players.

“Most guys tend to go to CU or CSU,” Awini said. “Connor, Drew, me and some others, we said, 'it would be cool if we did something special'.”

 

Here is an unofficial list, culled from various sources, of players who have committed to play football at Air Force. Some heights and weights are from Rivals.com and MaxPreps.com:

Player, hometown (high school)

Height, weight

QB Jaleel Awini, Aurora (Rangeview)

6-2, 190

 

DT Chris Boudreaux, Mobile, Ala. (St. Paul’s)

6-2, 265

 

S Aaryn Bouzos, La Mirada, Calif. (La Mirada)

5-9, 180

 

OLB Trevor Caswell, Round Rock, Texas (Stony Point)

6-1, 200

 

TE Nate Dreslinski, Clinton, Mich. (Clinton)

6-3, 228

 

TE Drew Dyer, Aurora (Regis Jesuit)

6-6, 220

 

LS Harrison Elliott, Roswell, Ga. (Roswell)

6-1, 225

 

OL Blake Fussell, Snellville, Ga. (Brookwood)

6-2, 280

 

WR Christian Gann, Parker, Colo. (Chaparral)

6-4, 205

 

QB Dano Graves, Folsom, Calif. (Folsom)

5-9, 185

 

DB Jaylen Harris, Leander, Texas (Vista Ridge)

5-7, 168

 

LB Connor Healy, Denver (Mullen)

5-11, 206

 

WR Marcus Hendricks, Folsom, Calif. (Folsom)

6-4, 210

 

OL Wilson Heres, Roswell, Ga. (Roswell)

6-2, 256

 

OL Jarrett Hudson, Cedar Park, Texas (Cedar Park)

6-5, 260

 

ATH/QB Colton Huntsman, Cypress, Texas (Cypress Woods)

5-11, 180

 

LB Ian Imamura, Pueblo (Pueblo West)

6-4, 205

 

LB Dallis Joiner, Atlanta (Westminster)

6-0, 192

 

RB LaMarce Lafayette, Daingerfield, Texas (Daingerfield)

5-6, 175

 

DB Jon Lindemann, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Saguaro)

6-3, 195

 

DB Jeremy McNeal, La Porte, Texas (La Porte)

5-9, 165

 

TE D.J. Miolen, Gainesville, Ga. (North Hall)

6-3, 252

 

DB Cedric Parker, Chandler, Ariz. (Hamilton)

6-0, 175

 

FB Tripp Patterson, Lenoir, N.C. (Hibriten)

6-0, 204

 

QB Kale Pearson, Tulsa, Okla. (Union)

5-10, 171

 

LB Jordan Pierce, Athens, Ga. (Clarke Central)

6-1, 225

 

DB Ryan Pollard, Arlington, Texas (Martin)

5-9, 165

 

DE Tanner Rice, Coppell, Texas (Coppell)

6-2, 240

 

DB Demarcus Robinson, Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill)

5-10, 163

 

OL Matt Rochell, McDonough, Ga. (Eagle’s Landing Christian)

6-4, 235

 

QB Kent Rollins, Snellville, Ga. (South Gwinnett)

6-0, 170

 

ATH/QB Teddy Ruben, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Saguaro)

5-8, 150

 

DE James Rushing, Houston (Houston Memorial)

6-3, 238

 

FB Tyrone Sauls, El Cajon, Calif. (Christian)

6-1, 220

 

LB Patrick Stevenson, Colorado Springs (Fountain-Fort Carson)

6-1, 210

 

DE Troy Timmerman, Florence, Ky. (Covington Catholic)

6-3, 255

 

OL Ari Uzo-Okereke, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (San Juan Hills)

6-5, 290

 

DB Miles Weatheroy, Portland, Ore. (Jesuit)

6-1, 170

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