Welcome to the first post 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 this year in alphabetical order. Today will look at Air Force.
The 2023 season was a productive one for Air Force, although it ended on a sour note. After starting out with eight straight wins and being ranked in the first CFP poll of the season, the Falcons reached their peak. The calendar turned to November and the team started playing completely different football. They went winless for the month, ending the regular season with four straight losses. By doing so, they not only lost their shot at a NY6 game, but also a spot in the Mountain West championship, and most importantly, the Commander-In-Chief Trophy.
As usual with academy recruiting, they are signing dozens of players and doing so with the purpose of finding players to fit their system. This means traditional rankings don’t fully capture their classes. Even so, there is still enough to discuss with the players who have signed with the Falcons so far. To read about a few of them, look below.
The Road So Far:
Air Force brought in numerous 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 a few years ago.
Although not as in-depth as other teams, here are some quick observations about their class. Per MWCConnection tracking, they have gained signees from players in at least sixteen different states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia. To no surprise, that is more than any other team in the Mountain West, Air Force casts a wide net recruiting players from many states.
Looking at their offensive signees, there was a significant focus on running backs and the offensive line, the latter of which had the most signings at any one position for the Falcons. They were complemented by signings at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. It’s hard to get into specifics at this point, and not all players have been confirmed signees. Still, some notable names are QB Brody Fortunati, RB Jordan Triplett, WR Jonah Dawson, TE Kole Tompkins, and OL Tanner Stokes.
Turning to the defense, Air Force once again featured players from every position. Thus far, the secondary looks to be in good shape for this class, and they also feature signings on the defensive line as well as a few at linebacker. Some names to keep track of include DL Joshua Janda, DE Sam Rhoades V, LB Brodie Mitchell, and LB Willie Powell Jr.
Number who signed in December: 45
Number who will enroll early: None (per academy rules)
247 Composite Rankings (subject to change):
- Overall: 145
- Recruiting: 144
- Transfer: (N/A)
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: They’ve secured players all positions and will undoubtedly add more players. However, more depth at tight end, and defensive line wouldn’t hurt.
Going forward, the important part of the Falcon’s recruiting efforts is to keep an eye on how they are finding players to fit their system. They have already done a good job with a number of positions, including quarterback, running back, offensive line, linebacker, and defensive back spots so far. Bolstering the numbers at tight end, and key offensive positions in the scheme like running back or offensive would be beneficial. On the other side of the ball, the Falcon defense would get a boost from addressing the interior of the defensive unit. Air Force is always the most challenging class to identify, but more depth is never a bad thing.
Coming tomorrow: Boise State