Maehler nearing end of collegiate football career
Four years have come and gone since Jamie Maehler last laced up his cleats and went to battle for his Truckee High football team.
A presidential term later, the Cadet Lieutenant and senior receiver on the Army football team is groomed for battle in the truest sense.
“I’ve prepared myself mentally for a trip to Afghanistan. We’ll see what happens,” Maehler, 22, said by phone Thursday from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
“I’m looking forward to combat at least once. … I think from a leadership standpoint it will be a good experience.”
Graduation looms near for the former Truckee standout, who recently learned what the U.S. Military has in store for him the next five years ” field artillery. He said he’ll graduate in May with a major in psychology before entering his final weeks of training. He gets 60 days off in between.
Looking ahead to the more immediate future, three games remain for Maehler to suit up in Army black and gold. The Black Knights play Rice on Saturday and Rutgers on Nov. 22, then close their season against bitter foe Navy on Dec. 6.
It’s a fitting way for Maehler to cap his college career, as he said the annual rival games stand out most among his Army football memories.
“It’s the highlight of the year, always. It’s such a storied rivalry. The atmosphere is awesome,” he said.
Maehler, who still owns the Nevada high school record for career receiving yards (2,969), has taken on a different role at Army, which now runs an option offense under head coach Stan Brock.
“When we changed our offense around to the option, (Maehler’s) big frame and athletic ability lended itself to being a good blocker.”
And so Maehler, at 6-foot-4 and a chiseled 211 pounds, blocks almost exclusively, Brock said.
“It was a huge change,” said Maehler, who has two catches for 25 yards this season. “When you’re looking for a college to go to, you don’t exactly look for a place where you can do the most blocking. But it was a sacrifice that had to be made.”
While Maehler said he has dialed in his blocking technique, going toe to toe with large, speedy Division 1 athletes remains an adventure. Especially on special teams, he said.
“On kickoff returns it’s been interesting. I’ve definitely gotten the eyes-open experience,” Maehler said. “It’s kind of crazy having huge guys running full speed at you. But I haven’t gotten knocked down yet. …
“I’ve definitely been hit pretty hard, though.”
Suffice to say, Maehler’s battle tested on the gridiron.