A full-ride scholarship? A top-notch education? A guaranteed job after college?
Top all that with the chance to play for a traditionally successful Division-I football program, and the prospect of playing football at the Air Force Academy was too tough for Peninsula High senior Cody Kanouse to turn down.
At the Peninsula High School library last Wednesday, on National Signing Day, the 6-foot-7, 280-pound left tackle announced his decision to continue his academic and football career at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
“I’m excited to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Kanouse said. “Being a part of the team and serving my country, I’m excited for the opportunity it’s going to bring me. It’ll be hard. I’m excited for the challenge.”
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The Air Force development was late — about three days before signing day.
“It just kind of came out of the blue,” Kanouse said. “It was a pretty good surprise.”
Kanouse said both his grandfather and great grandfather served in the Navy. But Kanouse hadn’t previously given much thought to serving in the military.
“I hadn’t been recruited much by the (service) academies, so I hadn’t thought much of it,” Kanouse said. “But the coach got on the phone with me and was telling me about the program. I get to choose my profession, get an Ivy League-level education, guaranteed employment. There’s security with graduating from the Academy. So for me, there was no reason not to do it. It’s a great education and a great opportunity.”
And as far as playing football, Kanouse said he was intrigued by the program, as well.
“They’re a successful program,” he said. “The coaches are good people. I haven’t heard anything negative come out of Air Force. They go to bowl games every year, so I think there’s a lot of opportunity with that. It’s a beautiful area and the games seem exciting. I think it’s a good fit and a good atmosphere.”
Kanouse will enroll in Air Force’s pre-academy in the fall, essentially redshirting for the football program. Kanoues will still have to go through an interview process, receive letters of recommendation and pass a physical training test before he’s officially admitted.
After 10 months in the pre-academy, Kanouse will go through basic training before joining the team full time. Kanouse plans to study business in college. In his four years at Peninsula High, Kanouse was one of the best players on the team and regarded as one of the team’s leaders.
“I think (Peninsula coach Ross) Filkins did a great job of taking the tone of ‘one game at a time,’ playing 11 as 1,” Kanouse said. “Everything I do is for the betterment of the team. That 11 as 1 mentality is something I can take with me.”
Four other Peninsula football players signed their NLIs last week as well. Blake Cantu signed with Central Washington University, Deboreae McClain signed with Eastern Washington University, Ryder Johnson signed with Western Oregon University and JT Schmidt signed with the University of Puget Sound.