Air Force's Calhoun pleased with 'quality' recruiting class

February 2, 2011
photo - Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun Photo by
Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun Photo by  

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 and

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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