Paul Valencia: Bagnall about to take flight

Paul Valencia: High School Sports

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

Brody Bagnall is getting set to soar into his future.

He also has the maturity to understand he does not have to soar too fast, too soon. He just might take a transition year of study before attending the Air Force Academy.

"I've taken six (Advanced Placement) classes, but it's one of the hardest schools in the country," Bagnall said. "I feel like I could succeed in the Academy right now but going to prep school probably is still a good idea."

Either way, he will be playing football.

Bagnall, a linebacker from Evergreen High School, is expected sign with the Air Force Academy this week. Soon, he will find out whether he will go directly to the Academy or if he will attend the AFA's Prep School, located on the same campus in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Prep School is "designed to academically, physically and militarily prepare qualified young men and women to enter the Academy," according to the Air Force.

For athletes, there is an extra benefit. If Bagnall goes to Prep School, he could play for that football program without losing a year of college eligibility.

That's another year of schooling and weight lifting. Something Bagnall does not mind at all.

In fact, Bagnall was interested in the Air Force Academy even if it meant no more football. Last summer, he began the process of learning the necessary steps needed in order to receive an appointment. He figured he could join the lifting team at the Academy.

In December, his football coach at Evergreen, Don Johnson Jr., gave the Academy a call on Bagnall's behalf -- his football behalf.

"They called me back within 30 minutes," Bagnall recalled.

Coaches at Air Force saw his game video and noticed his 6-foot-3 frame and 230 pounds of muscle. Bagnall is proud to say he can dunk. Not that the Air Force wants a him to play basketball, but the coaches did see an athlete.

Bagnall took his official visit this past weekend.

"I'm excited about being there with people who want to succeed in life," Bagnall said. "That's what has influenced my decision."

Graduates of the Academy must serve as officers in the Air Force.

That is a draw, too.

"I'm really big on the country. I love this country. I think it's a great country. To be able to serve, it's a really good feeling," Bagnall said. "There is a line of people who have served in my family. It's going to be a great decision in my life."

Of course, it is a first-rate education at no financial cost. Bagnall wants to study engineering.

"It's a no-brainer," he said.

While Bagnall will be in Colorado next fall, he will keep an eye on his former teammates. He expects big things at Evergreen. He hopes he was part of the start of something special. The Plainsmen won four games in 2013.

Bagnall said Johnson, in his first year at Evergreen, "did more than I could ever ask for."

The 2014 Evergreen football team will be improved, Bagnall said.

"They have their minds right. They're working hard as hell in the weight room," Bagnall said. "If you could see them working out, you'd see a change. They know where they're going."

Bagnall knows where he is going, too:

The Air Force Academy.

When he is ready.