On Wednesday, the Gazette’s Frank Schwab will provide updates throughout the day – which is national football signing day across the country – on the Falcons’ latest recruiting class, including inside stories from the newest Air Force football players and a list of all of the Falcons’ biggest recruits, along with video highlights. He will also answer any recruiting questions during the day on Twitter, @GazetteAirForce. So keep checking the blog through the day, starting early Wednesday morning – and here’s a story of one of the new recruits as a sneak preview:
At one point, Kola Alli was getting all the attention from colleges you’d expect from a player who was strong enough to play defensive end and could run a 4.65-second 40-yard dash.
Alli, who is from Kennedale, Texas, said he had gotten some preliminary interest from schools like Texas A&M, Georgia Tech and Michigan State. He had also heard from Air Force.
Then over the summer, in a 7-on-7 tournament, he went down with a bad knee injury.
“I was just sitting there thinking ‘Am I going to be able to play this season?’” Alli said.
The news that he had a torn anterior cruciate ligament let him know his senior season wouldn’t happen. Then he started wondering about what might happen after high school.
“I was worried,” Alli said. “I thought it would wipe out all chances of me playing college ball.”
Alli said the attention from colleges stopped, but Air Force kept its offer on the table. He was thrilled when he heard from Air defensive line coach Ron Burton, who recruits that area and reaffirmed Air Force’s offer for him to come.
“I felt relieved after that; that was a load off my shoulders,” said Alli, who will probably be an outside linebacker in college.
Alli will go to the prep school next year (assuming he’s healthy, or he could postpone that another year) and then can come to the academy. He still is rehabilitating the knee – he said he has started running and cutting a little bit and said he is feeling good – and he might be one of the more appreciative recruits in the nation on Wednesday, which is national signing day across the country.
“I’m lucky,” Alli said. “I’m definitely lucky to be able to do this.”