In the Army now
Beyond the conventional attractions, Truckee senior Jamie Maehler has a special reason for wanting to play football for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
“My brother (Joshua) is in the Army and he’s stationed in Iraq,” said Maehler, who on Monday made a verbal commitment to play for Army starting in the fall. “I look up to him, and I paid a lot of attention to what he’s said about the Army. I like what the Academy and the Army stand for.
“My parents and I sat down together and had a long talk. We all felt that West Point is the right decision and fit for my future. My dad’s opinion on West Point was ‘There are no Maurice Claretts there. Coach (Bobby) Ross and the program are the epitome of class in college football.'”
Maehler, who caught 108 passes over the past two years and is the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association career leader with 2,969 receiving yards, says he will sign a letter of intent to play for Army on Feb. 2, the first day recruits can make that binding commitment.
At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, with 4.62-second speed in the 40-yard dash, and with strong academic credentials, Maehler ” who with quarterback Paul Tierney led Truckee to the 3A state title this past season ” expected to generate considerable attention from NCAA Division I-A programs.
Surprisingly, he didn’t ” but in retrospect, he’s glad.
“As it turned out, the decision was easy,” said Maehler, who scored 21 points in a losing cause for Truckee’s basketball team at Lowry Friday night. “I got a lot of letters, but once coaches were allowed to contact me directly, the interest just wasn’t that strong. Army was involved early, and the quality of the education and the history involved made it easy.”
The coaching staff there also was a big point, Maehler said. Bobby Ross (entering his second year at Army) used to be an NFL head coach (taking the San Diego Chargers to the 1995 Super Bowl).
“But by far the most important thing for me was the education. West Point really stood out there,” he said.
Maehler, who also will run track this spring, is interested in a law career. He says he still is looking strongly at that option at West Point, although he’ll have to fulfill what amounts to an eight-year service commitment.
Maehler said the only other NCAA Division I-A school that expressed strong and consistent interest was Utah State. Humboldt State and Linfield were among the small-college programs he seriously considered.
UNR offered him the opportunity to walk on as a non-scholarship player, but Maehler said he never seriously considered the Wolf Pack, especially after Army became involved.
“They wanted me to get up to 250 pounds and switch from wide receiver to tight end, and I didn’t want to do that,” Maehler said. “(At Army) I can stay at wide receiver, and they’ve said they’ll let me try punting too.”
Maehler said the fact the service academies do not allow redshirting also played a part in his decision. Army went 2-9 in Ross’ first season, and Maehler thinks he has a chance to compete for playing time right away.