Brent's take: Air Force receiver David Cormier positioned for a breakout season
To watch Air Force practice over the past two years was to peak behind the curtain at something special in David Cormier.
Pegging this 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior receiver as the state’s breakout college football star for 2020 may seem puzzling, particularly when considering the proven talent on his own offense. But the gifts the Falcons have in Donald Hammond III, Kade Remsberg, Timothy Jackson, Nolan Laufenberg and several others have been unwrapped. Because of them, this team has the firepower to be something special. Top of the Mountain West, Commander in Chief’s trophy, compete for the Group of Five’s spot in a New Year’s Six bowl kind of special.
But in Cormier, the newness will accentuate the wow factor. He didn’t play as a freshman. An unspecified academy infraction wiped out his sophomore year. He stuck around. Now, just watch.
He’s got every skill that allowed Jalen Robinette and Geraud Sanders to lead the nation in yards per catch in this attack orchestrated by coach Troy Calhoun and offensive coordinator Mike Thiessen. But what Cormier also has is a senior quarterback in Hammond who turned the corner as a junior in utilizing his big, accurate arm. Cormier, a high school basketball standout in Albuquerque, has proven all impossible to defend in one-on-one coverage drills, and that’s all he’s likely to face in game situations because Air Force's rushing attack demands the bulk of the attention.
For three years now — including his year at the prep school — the Falcons have been sitting on this secret, if a three-star recruit can be called that. A few of us have already caught glimpses. Soon, the curtain will open on a new star.
Paul's take: QB Hammond is the most impactful on the Faclons' roster
Hammond for Heisman.
Got your attention? Good. Because Donald “DJ” Hammond III is coming for college football’s.
It’s not crazy to think the Air Force QB can join Ernie Jennings and the late Dee Dowis as Falcons to finish in the Heisman Trophy running. It’s not wild to predict Hammond will win Mountain West offensive player of the Year. Not nuts, either, to believe he’ll be more impactful than the candidates at CU-Boulder and Colorado State, a pair of rebuilding jobs breaking in new coaches.
“DJ’s just scratched the surface on his ability,” ex-Falcon wide receiver Geraud Sanders said recently.
If these junior-year numbers are scratching the surface, wait till Hammond digs deep: 26 total touchdowns (second in the MWC), 1,869 total yards (10th) and 3.1 (GPA in aeronautical engineering). I need my quarterback to think the game. To quote Terrell Owens: DJ’s my quarterback.
As the premier beat writer in the state, Mr. Briggeman is uniquely qualified to predict the "breakout college football player in Colorado." And he makes a compelling case for David Cormier, who, according to teammates, has speed to burn. It’s the presence of a game-breaker like Cormier that strengthens my belief Hammond goes from breaking out locally (as a junior) to breaking out nationally (as a senior). And the presence of NFL-ready offensive lineman Nolan Laufenberg. And Kade Remsberg. And... well, with these Falcons, take the Over.
Take a look at the schedule, too. Not Air Force’s. Boise State’s schedule. The Broncos somehow got Florida State to travel to Idaho in Week 3. But the week before is the game of the season in the Mountain West: Boise State at Air Force. Will Boise State get caught looking ahead?
Last season’s 11-2 march was a thrill a minute. The 2020 Falcons should aim higher.
Hammond for Heisman.