Homefield advantage was something a group of Air Force graduates couldn’t resist.
Jacob Onyechi, Jalen Robinette, Weston Steelhammer and Ryan Watson have gathered from Florida, Nevada, Texas and Ohio, respectively, for Monday’s Pro Day workout for NFL scouts at the academy as opposed to trying to find one closer to their current bases.
Their reasons were varied, but most came back to comfort, familiarity and Falcons’ strength and conditioning coach Matt McGettigan – more commonly known as “Getty.”
“I think kind of how the way everything played out, not coming back to my alma mater and doing Pro Day wouldn’t feel right,” Robinette said. “Coming back here always feels right and working with Coach Getty, especially. It feels right; feels comfortable.
Air Force gave me the opportunity to play football, so why not come back here and do the Pro Day?”
Factors like altitude and the cold – Monday’s forecasted high is 48 degrees and the HAC is not heated, so it will be a little frigid for a 40-yard dash and shuttle drills – were considered but brushed aside.
Air Force went 17-1 at home during the group’s sophomore to senior seasons as opposed to 9-11 on the road, so it makes sense that they’d want to be back here to perform.
“I was actually weighing whether I should do it over here (in Florida), or at Air Force,” Onyechi said. “At the end of the day, I like going back to where it all started and being around coaches and people who could speak to what I was able to do up there and my work ethic and everything. And not being put kind of on the back burner at another school that doesn’t necessarily know me.”
The workout will be administered by McGettigan, who has also advised some former players on workouts beyond their careers at Air Force.
“I reached out to Getty a long time ago and got workouts from him to supplement workouts from my trainer,” Watson said.
“Yes, Getty has definitely been involved. When it comes to physical exercise, Getty is the one I trust first and foremost above anyone.”
The Pro Day is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Monday.
“This is what got us to where we are,” Steelhammer said. “We all decided to come back. This place got us to where we are, we’re comfortable and we know the folks. Some of us came up here to train and polish up on some things a couple days beforehand and try to give it our best shot. We all started this thing together and we’re going to finish it together.”