The Air Force Falcons, like the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen, are always in a position different from all other colleges that play football in that recruitment and talent level is shaped as a result of the school's need for the development of the leaders of tomorrow's military. The players aren't the most talented, but they do what they must. So, when a service academy loses five players right as fall camp opens, it hurts quite a bit.
On Friday afternoon, Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun announced that five players are not with the team currently (via Frank Schwab of the Colorado Springs Gazette):
Safety Anthony Wooding, receiver Mikel Hunter, receiver Brandon Hirneise, linebacker Jamil Cooks (a Sierra graduate) and tight end Devin Durden are not with the Falcons, who began training camp Friday. Coach Troy Calhoun said they were not suspended, but he confirmed they are not on the team.
Apparently, when asked by members of the media, Calhoun had to repeatedly tell them that, "They are not here." That's all Calhoun said about the matter. Whether they will have an opportunity to return to the team is also unknown at this time.
The five students are still cadets at the Academy. Schwab notes that it could possibly be for one of four reasons: "a violation of the honor code, academics, military performance problems or a physical fitness issue."
The Falcons begin the 2012 season on Sept. 1 against the Idaho St. Bengals in Colorado Springs.