Though it took Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry six weeks to officially announce his intention to return for a 23rd season in 2006, he didn’t waste time identifying his biggest objective during recruiting season. “We’ve got to find a quarterback,” DeBerry said Nov. 21, two days after the Falcons’ season-ending victory at New Mexico to finish 4-7. Apparently, the Falcons landed several. Dexter Taylor, named Indiana’s Mr. Football by the Indianapolis Star, and ThunderRidge’s Kyle Black are among several quarterbacks slated to be part of Air Force’s 2006 class. Though Wednesday marked the first day of college football’s official signing period, Air Force doesn’t release the names of its recruits because football players at service academies don’t sign letters of intent. Plus, many of the players who have verbally committed will either enroll in the academy’s prep school or never make it to the academy for various reasons. The Falcons usually have a few players each year drop out during Basic Cadet Training. History indicates between 100 and 150 football players will enroll in the prep school or the academy this year, and DeBerry hopes at least one will emerge as his next star quarterback. The Falcons are set at that position with two-year starter Shaun Carney, who will enter his junior season this fall. But the second-best quarterback, Jim Ollis, will also be a junior, meaning the Falcons will probably need one of the current recruits to step forward in 2008. Taylor, who ran the option at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, seems like a top prospect. After rushing for 2,100 yards and 29 touchdowns and leading his team to the 5A state title, he chose Air Force over Western Kentucky, Cincinnati and Marshall, according to the Indianapolis Star. Other quarterbacks to commit to Air Force include Joshua Cousins from Xenia, Ohio, and Drew Ellison of Park Hills, Ky. The other notable aspect of Air Force’s recruiting season is that it yielded good results by assigning Lt. Anthony Butler, a junior varsity assistant, to recruit in Hawaii. Very few from the islands have suited up for Air Force, but Butler landed at least four commitments, including one from speedy quarterback Brad Padayao, who was also recruited by Navy, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The paper also reported slotback Jon Santiago chose Air Force over Navy and that the Falcons picked up commitments from running back Kealoha Pilares and defensive lineman Lolomana Mikaele. Air Force also appears to have done well in Colorado by landing Black and his teammate, fullback Nick Lind, who helped ThunderRidge of Highlands Ranch win the Class 4A state title. “He’s the greatest leader and the best quarterback I’ve ever coached,” ThunderRidge coach Joe Johnson said of Black. “The things we do are pretty similar to a lot of the things Air Force does, even in the passing game and he’s just the greatest kid ever to me. I think they got a real gem down there.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0258 or email@example.com
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