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[2024] US Air Force Academy Offseason Roster Outlook

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air_force_football.png OFFSEASON OUTLOOK: United States Air Force Academy (Air Force, CO)

By NateTheGreat


New Beginnings in Air Force?


(M. Freeman / Associated Press)


USFA wraps up another below average season finishing 5-7, going 3-5 in the Mountain West and very narrowly missing out on a bowl appearance. Coach @stinsy compiled an 11-14 record and a bowl apperance over the two seasons he coached Air Force, before leaving this offseason to become head coach at Texas A&M. Lots of fans and cadets around the university felt like all of was lost, losing such a great coach to his alma matter but they weren't angry at him knowing it was a very tough decision to make, he ultimately decided to go home. This had been the 'feeling' around the Academy until Coach @kwheele had accepted the opening and was introduced as head coach last month as well as an almost entire new staff. Since kwheele has arrived he has embraced the underdog role, preaching teamwork and discipline to being the key to success, stating during his press conference, "We are not going to masquerade who we are. There will be very few Saturdays where we are bigger, faster, more athletic or stronger than the teams that we play. We believe it doesn’t always take the best players to win, it takes the best team to win. And we are going to field the best team." So far the 2nd year coach has talked a good game and seems to be the right fit, but let's be honest the @DescretoBurrito era is behind this program and is a far cry from what it use to be during that time period. So, we're left wondering are better days really coming to Air Force or will this new look team follow the same footsteps as its predecessor? We'll take a little deep dive to this upcoming season's roster to find out just how good this team will hold up in 2024 and seasons ahead.


   Starting senior guards, Gregory Jack (77) and Elijah Berger (70) in 2023 (P. Miller / Associated Press) 





  • Elijah Berger, OG
  • Gregory Jack, OG
  • Armando Puente, DE
  • Brian Lewis, DE
  • Antonie Murphy, DE
  • Amari Iverson, OLB
  • Caleb Pyle, ILB
  • Jabari Heckle, OLB
  • Benjamin Slack, OLB
  • Kristian Chrisholm, FS
  • Victor Shanks, K                                                                                                                                 
  • Joseph Gore, LS 
  • Coach stinsy                                                                                                                                         
  • Wesley Kyle, LS
  • Van Cooney, LS


OUTLOOK: Air Force is parting ways with their solid class of 2023. There are no slouches in this class, which features two of their starting guards, Gregory Jack and Elijah Berger who have been solid pieces for Falcons and quite frankly won't be easy pieces to replace. There's no doubt there were a few notches above their current backups too. Next on this list is probably the headline of this productive defensive group, 1st Team All-MWC and standout end, Brian Lewis who posted a school record for sacks (11). Lewis has some NFL scouts drooling over him and figures to be a potential day 2 pick for his relentless motor and restless work ethic. Leaders of the linebacker corps Amari Iverson and Jabari Heckle, also figure to join their teammate in (PUT CITY HERE) next month, projecting to go in the later rounds. They have been cornerstones for this defense during their tenure at Air Force and will leave lasting impressions, the Falcons however, have two replacements lined up in Joel Decker and an incoming JUCO transfer which is good news but don't expect them to immediately be as good. Starter, Kristian Chrisholm joins the list of Academy graduates. He had good moments with the football program but, will be pursuing a military career after gauging his chances to make a NFL roster. Special teams will lose 4 players, graduating cadets and starters, Victor Shank and Joseph Gore. JUCO Transfer, Sebastian White will step in right away for kicking duties which may be slight improvement for the Falcons. These loses may be big but are manageable if that's much of a compliment, lucky for USFA they are returning a big class of incoming seniors who can step in as veterans and attempt to fill the necessary holes.


Freshmen, Matt Mosley practicing last year during spring training before he was redshirted the 2023 season (P. Miller / Associated Press)

5c8d9012374a7.image.jpg?resize=1200,821:airforce:New Faces


Matt Mosley, QB

• Julius Moss, QB

• Myles Mulligan, QB

Cameron Kelly, OLB

• Xavier Munson, OG

Stephen Carpenter, FS

 Sebastian White, K

• Derrick Reid, RB

• Deondre Queen, WR

• William Sexton, WR

• Hakeem Muhammad, WR

• Oliver Walls, WR

 • Justice James, TE

        • Peter Patten, OT

• Jefferson Ibarra, OG

• Alex Joiner, C

• Tiontay Proctor, DE

• Joe Doran, DE

• John Lawson, ILB

• Darren Hodge, OLB

• Kamar Calloway, CB

• Andrew Watts, FS

• Adalius Myrick, SS

• Aaron Ackerman, SS

Nick McAruther, K

• Anthony Swift, K

• Elliot Sanders, ATH

• Hunter Chaney, KR/PR

• Evander Pope, KR/PR


OUTLOOKSurprisingly, Air Force welcomes a lengthy amount of good players (Thanks to Coach @stinsy) headlined by former 5:star: quarterback, Matt Mosley; he had been redshirted during the 2023 season, and is expected to compete during the spring for the starting QB spot against last year's starter, Ted Blake who was notably underwhelming at times last season. Mosley had questions about his accuracy and decision making coming in as a freshmen which is why he was ultimately redshirted. However, he is way too talented not to figure it out. A year away from the game to study the playbook and put in extra work in the weight room should pay off and don't be surprised to see the redshirt freshmen leading the charge for this new look offense in 2024. He will have a nice target for years to come in freshmen, Deondre Queen, who joins him coming off his own redshirt season, will also likely be apart of this offense. My favorite pickup of this entire list of new players though is Cameron Kelly, the Florida native has exceptional reaction time and ball skills and the Falcons will get a Day 1 starter in JUCO product. Kelly who will be tasked with the tough job of helping filling the big hole at linebacker. It seems, defense was the gift that kept giving, after successfully signing Elliot Sanders, John Lawson, Aaron Ackerman and Tiontay Proctor during the recruiting period. All four, coveted high school superstars won't probably see the field much out the gate but I would keep an eye out for Ackerman who could make the jump some point in the season to free safety, if needed or wait for 1st teamer Cameron Harley to graduate and take over then. Either way this class is talented, provides them with some depth and some guys to lean on in the future. Recruiting wise, last year's crew did a very good job. The question then is can Coach @kwheele can bring in talent? Air Force's new staff should be pleased with this foundation though and hopefully can keep up this level of crooting up for the betterment of the program...IF they plan on having big plans in the future and being nationally recognized like they once were.


Tran Nguyen (9) scoring a touchdown against rival Boise state in 2023 (P. Miller / Associated Press)

:airforce:Returning Starters


  • Ted Blake, QB
  • Matt Schilling, RB
  • Elijah Peters, FB
  • Jonah Dutton, WR
  • Tran Nguyen, WR
  • Tavarreus Redd, TE
  • Andrew Sample, TE
  • Pat Linder, OT
  • Terrence Gilmore, C
  • Dylan Baker, OT
  • Derrick Dukes, DE
  • Fredrick Stone, DT                                                                                                                             
  • Keenan High, ILB                                                                                                                               
  • Raekwon Hemphill, CB
  • Benjamin Broussard, CB
  • Joshua Donohue, CB
  • Simon Keene, ILB
  • Cameron Harley, SS
  • Theo Ray, P


OutlookAs you see, this team is quite experienced and skillful welcoming back 19 starters in total (10 offense, 8 defense, 1 special teams) which is refreshing to see but there has been no true consistency of either side of the ball except for their rushing attack which was lead by Junior back, Matt Schilling. Schilling had a great season, running for over 1,100 yards and 10+ touchdowns this year for the Falcons. In order for them to be successful, they have to figure out a style of play and stick with it. On top of that who's ever calling shots under center this upcoming season MUST feed Tran Nguyen, who has been neglected at times during his freshmen season. Nguyen, who might honestly be the most talented player Air Force has, is a physical receiver that can make plays on any ball within his 6'6 arm span radius. It's likely he'll open the season as the clear #1 option for the Falcons and rightfully so after spending most of his playing time this past season as a complementary wideout. The most encouraging sign has to be 1st team All-MWC right tackle, Dylan Baker returning another season after generating pro interest throughout the year with his dominating performances against his Mountain West opponents. He has been a brick wall since he arrived at USFA. On a different note, the defense returns three seniors who have been there through the peak years of Air Force's program, so therefore they know what it takes to win and will be counted on to show the way to the rest of this inexperienced crew. Cameron Harley, star of the Falcon's defense and one of the best safeties in the MWC will return with a vendetta after putting together an All-MWC 1st season in 2023, setting the school record for forced fumbles along the way. He will look to round out this team and be the catalyst that pushes them back into glory. Overall, nice group to have.


Final Thoughts & Grade

On paper Air Force is one of the more talented rosters in the Mountain West conference but unfortunately football games aren't played that way (well in our case they might be lol)  and the Falcons have to find their identity. Too many question marks surrounding this team on offense and defense and that's without mentioning the fact they will be ushering in a new system and breaking in a new head coach. I just don't see it THIS upcoming season, I find myself constantly saying, pound for pound they stack up against the best teams in the Mountain West but will they be able to put it together? We don't know who's going to be their quarterback, how will Nguyen respond to a heavily ridiculed freshmen season? Will the defense be able to recover of the loss of team MVP Brian Lewis, outside linebackers Iverson, Heckle AND both your starting guards? That's a lot to ask any team to do in a season. So, for that reason I think they will be battling for a bowl appearance in the middle of the MWC in 2024. Don't be discouraged though Falcon fans I believe they will return to form whether it be next season or the season after, they have enough talent to do it they just have to mold together and that will come with experience and continuing to be successful in adding big time players. I gave these guys a C+, I really like what they did off the field, not so much on but there's a lot of potential there, I'd even gamble around and call them a sleeper. This offseason grade is mostly a judgement of the previous coach though so USFA's new guy has a lot to prove. Coach @kwheele is hungry and committed and that's what great coaches are made of, he just has to grind through those recruiting periods, utilize their talent and they will be back to winning bowl games again. 




Tags: #LetsFly:airforce: #BoltBrotherhood #GoAFF #N8Articles

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I really like this series...keep it up!

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50 minutes ago, bingo415 said:

I really like this series...keep it up!

Thank you big dawg!

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