Welcome to the fifth piece in our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured, in order of where they fall in their current MWCConnection ranking. Today looks at Air Force.
5th in MWCConnection Recruiting Rankings.
The 2019 season went just about as well for the Falcons as it possibly could have. A ten-win season, breaking into the top-25 rankings in a few polls and only losing one game in conference play. However, some things held them back from a truly special season. Those things ended up being two losses; one to Boise State and another to rival Navy, both ranked teams. Those losses are nothing to scoff about but unfortunately did prevent one of the best teams in the nation a shot at a conference championship and bigger bowl game.
Looking at the recruiting needs going forward, the hope is that this is a team that can reload rather than rebuild. The defense will lose a group of seniors that were key contributors to this year’s squad. Two defensive linemen starters, two linebackers, and three DBs to be exact. Offensively, Air Force will be losing two starting wide receivers, three offensive linemen starters, as well as key contributors as fullback and quarterback. This year for the Falcons showed how important it is to have depth are those positions.
The Road So Far:
Air Force brought in 38 known players during the December Signing Period, but won’t be discussing all of them in this piece, nor in the February breakdown. Instead, we will look at some of the top recruits they brought in.
Note: For more info on why Air Force can recruit so many players, check out what we were told by beat writer Brent Briggeman last February.
Although not as in-depth as other teams, here are some quick observations about their class. Per 247 sports, they have gained commitments (note: not signees) in players from at least 16 different states. Texas was far and away the state that produced the most success this year, with double-digit players who committed. More than any other team in the Mountain West, Air Force casts a wide net recruiting players from many different states.
Look at their offensive signees, there was a significant focus on wide receivers and offensive line. Those positions brought in seven and nine players, respectively. While the WR position doesn’t always get as much action as other schools, bringing in athletes to keep opposing defenses honest is vital for their offense, and the Falcons were able to do that. More importantly, restocking the offensive line isn’t an easy task to do at a service academy program, but AFA brought in some quality players.
On defense, the Air Force signees were a bit more balanced by position, but there was still a bit of an emphasis at defensive end and linebackers. Particularly at linebacker, there looks to be quite a few talented players coming into the fold now that they are signed. It would not be surprising to see a future all-MWC player or two emerging from the linebacker corps before their careers are over.
Number who signed in December: 38
Number who will enroll early: None (per academy rules)
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: They’ve secured players all positions, but will undoubtedly add more players. Especially QB, RB.
Going forward, the important part in Air Force recruiting is to keep an eye on how they are finding players to fit their system. They have already done a good job with the offensive and defensive lines. Bolstering the key offensive spots in their offense, quarterback, fullback, and running back, will be extremely important between now and February. On the other side of the ball, the Falcon defense seems to do well when they are strong in the secondary. Landing one or two quality athletes to boost the back end of their defense will go a long way.
Air Force has the makings of a pretty good class, and checking off a few more boxes will aid them in keeping the strong seasons going.
Previous posts: Boise State, Wyoming, Nevada, San Jose State
Coming tomorrow: Fresno State