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2021 Recruiting Breakdown: Air Force

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A class with talented players at key spots

NCAA Football: Boise State at Air Force Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the seventh post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today looks at the #7 team in our rankings, Air Force.

The Falcons never have a problem getting the quantity when it comes to recruiting, but many years the quality is usually up for debate. However, this year may be one of their better classes, as they have a high number of three-star recruits, including their third-highest rated recruit ever. With 90 recruits coming in this class, it’s needless to say they meet all their positional needs. Now with Air Force, it’s a crapshoot whether these recruits will even make it to the academy, let alone pan out on the team. That being said, check out fifteen of their recruits from the 2021 class.

The Skinny:

  • Roughly 90 recruits signed (15 recruits highlighted in this post). Brent Briggeman did all the heavy-lifting here.
  • 8 offensive, 7 defensive
  • 23 3-stars per 247 Composite rankings.
  • Players with a composite rating over 85: 1
  • Players with a composite rating between 82-84: 6
  • Breakdown by state (not a comprehensive list): 10 Texas, 5 California, 5 Washington, 3 Florida, 3 Utah, 2 Arizona, 2 Indiana, 2 Kentucky, 2 Michigan, 2 Ohio
  • 90th in the 247 Composite Rankings

The Players:

Note: I could not cover all 90+ signed recruits in this breakdown. The players below were chosen based on rating, position, and familiarity. I realize this leaves many promising young players off the list, and I’m sorry to the ones who couldn’t be included.

QB Ty Reasoner

Ty was an extremely productive dual-threat quarterback coming to Air Force. He has a cannon for an arm, able to hit on the deep ball with regularity. Reasoner is a deceptive and effective runner, and he has great breakaway speed. He is a quick decision-maker and reads the defense at the line of scrimmage, which will help him in the option attack. It’s easy to see Ty leading the option attack for a few years over the course of his career.

RB Marceese Yetts

Marceese is an extremely talented runner that Air Force was able to secure. He is small in stature but extremely speedy and difficult to catch as he makes his cuts. Yetts is dangerous in the open field and reaches top speed almost immediately. He is also able to catch out of the backfield, and it’s easy to picture him being effective getting a pitch in the option attack. Marceese is talented enough to play right away, assuming everything off the field goes well for him.

WR Terrell Dillworth

Terrell is another receiver with big-play potential for the Falcons. He showcases great speed on the outside and has a smooth and effective ability to change direction after a one-cut move. Dillworth has great hands and routinely puts up big yards after the catch thanks to his ability to catch the ball in stride. He can make plays for an offense in a variety of ways. Terrell can help the Falcon’s vertical passing game with his skill set.

WR Braylon Fowler

Braylon looks like one of the vocal leaders in this class during recruiting season. He is explosive after the catch, turning upfield and hitting max speed to extend players. Fowler runs precise routes and is often able to get open almost immediately. He isn’t afraid to be physical, which will help him as a blocker. Braylon can get open and hit on big plays, both of which will serve him well as a receiver for the Falcons.

TE Aidan Swartz

Aidan brings nice size to the tight end position. He is an athletic two-way player who has a high-motor and plays through the whistle. Swartz played mostly on defense on his highlight film, and his physical play at the line of scrimmage is sure to assist him on offense as a blocker. He is quick to get in proper position and his blocking is textbook when he is shown blocking. Aidan is sure to work as hard as possible to make an impact on the field.

OL Christien Hawks

Christien is a two-way player coming to play offensive line. He is quick off the line of scrimmage and physical at the point of contact, regardless of which side of the ball he is playing. Hawks uses his lower body in his blocks, driving defenders into the second level and opening up wide holes in the run game. He lays crushing hits and routinely pancakes opposing players. Christen looks like a formidable addition to the offensive line.

OL Jack Burnett

Jack is a solid interior lineman coming to AFA. His vision and ability to read a defense jump out when watching his film. Burnett has a strong presence in the run game, sticking to defenders when blocking and pushing them back out of the play. He knows where to go immediately after he snaps the ball and stick to his assignment. Jack can play any of the three interior positions but seems best suited for center where his skill set can be best utilized.

OL Dillon Gilbert

Dillon is another welcome addition to the Air Force offensive line. He is an athletic lineman who can be utilized when pulling, moving the pocket, or out on a screen. Gilbert is a stout blocker, utilizing his lower body and sticking his hands to defenders in his blocks. He does a nice job using the defender’s own momentum to guide them away from the play. Dillon looks like he can stick at tackle and become a quality playing on the o-line.

DL Kaleb Tompkins

Kaleb looks like a nice talent at defensive tackle. He plays hard and fast, going full-force from the instant the ball is snap. Tompkins is almost impossible to block with just one lineman, as he can get past them with ease. He is powerful enough to push blockers back and fast enough to run by them if he takes a good angle. Kaleb looks every bit of an Air Force defensive lineman.

DL Antwan Brown

Antwan possesses a nice combination of speed and size along the defensive line. He utilizes a speed rush to great effectiveness, getting past blockers and into the backfield quickly. Brown is patient on the edge on running plays, holding contain and forcing running backs inside. He doesn’t give up on plays and keeps his arms and feet constantly moving. Antwan is productive as a defensive end but if he can add some weight, he could excel as a defensive tackle who eat up blocks and causes havoc in the run game.

DL Matthew Brown

Matthew comes to the Falcons as a defensive end. He is a lean, athletic player with good speed off the edge. Brown excels at getting to the quarterback thanks to his quickness and making one-cut moves to beat linemen. He disrupts the timing of passes and hunts down QBs on the run. Matthew should add a nice pass-rush to the Air Force defense when he gets on the field.

DE Isaiah Henderson

Isaiah comes in as a defensive end big on potential. He does a great job keeping contain on run plays, forcing ball-carriers back to the middle of the field where help can arrive. Henderson is a violent tackler, putting a lot of force into his hits. He can chase players down with his length and quickness. Isaiah could develop into a very solid defender.

DE Zach Myers

Zach is another defensive end in this class. He is a physical tackler who plays through the whistle on every play. Myers rushes hard, getting to the backfield thanks to his quickness and angles to edge out lineman. He has an awareness of how plays are developing and executes his assignment. Zach has a chance to be a key defender for the Flacons.

LB Kyler Orr

Kyler is a tenacious linebacker coming out of high school. He is stout against the run, diagnosing plays immediately and squaring up to make the hit. Orr flocks to the ball and gets in the right position, both in run support or in coverage. He moves well laterally and knows when to fill a gap or side of the field in coverage. Kyler can play multiple linebacker positions but may be best suited as a new-age MLB.

DB Dru Polidore

Dru is one of the better players in this Falcon class. He has enough speed to beat receivers to the ball and get in position to make a play. Polidore’s size allows him to neutralize the size advantage of wide receivers and he is strong enough to shed blocks and get to the ball. He keeps his head up and can move off his man to make a difference in the run game. Air Force has shown they can develop quality defensive backs and Dru looks like another one.

Quick Hits:

Headliner(s):

Mike: Yetts, Polidore, Hawks.

NittanyFalcon: Marceese Yetts is undoubtedly the most intriguing recruit in this summary. When I watch his highlight reel, my mind conjures up thoughts of Chad Hall, one of the best ever at Air Force. The elusiveness and the receiving ability are the factors that bring Hall to mind, and Hall was also small of stature. The new (old) running back coach Tim Horton also coached Hall early in his career at Air Force. But, I always have to temper my enthusiasm for any recruit because of the road they must travel to even get in the game at the Academy.

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Yetts, Polidore, Hawks. Thompkins

NittanyFalcon: None of these recruits will play much if any next year unless there is another year of Covid that ends up in more turnbacks.

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Burnett, Reasoner

NittanyFalcon: Reasoner is impressive in his highlights against high school competition in San Antonio. But, I’m even more impressed by the persona he presents on social media relating to his motivation and relationship with other recruits in this year’s class. He seems highly motivated to be a success at the Academy. Maybe I’m stretching a bit, but with recruits at Air Force, motivation and esprit de corps are big factors.

Best unit:

Mike: Running back, Offensive Line

NittanyFalcon: The offensive line recruits have good size and there are five 3 star recruits. Steed Lobotzke should be able to develop a couple of these into solid starters.

Summary:

As stated above, this Air Force class is a step or so above their average class based solely on signing a hundred players. Getting players at running back, o-line, and defensive back who could play at almost any other Mountain West school is a huge boon to their future potential. The fact that they fit the Falcon system is even better. Some players may not like the academy, while others may not pan out due to the rigorous standards. Assuming they do, the future looks bright. Overall, there’s a lot to like here.

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