LIMA – Committing to play football for the Air Force Academy for Bath’s Bo Gross is more about patriotism than the pigskin.
Gross, who signed his letter-of-intent Wednesday to play football for the Air Force Academy, is excited about the challenges of playing football at the Division I level for the Falcons, but he chose the military academy because he has wanted to serve his country since junior high school.
“Ever since middle school I wanted to serve at an academy and I was looking at Navy but Air Force kind of just hit me,” Gross said. “I visited out there and fell in love with the place and the coaches. I wanted to play football where ever I was at and so to get this opportunity to serve in the military and play football is the best of both worlds.”
In addition to the Naval Academy, Gross also showed interest in Findlay and Toledo. If he would have attended a non military affiliated school he said he would have still gone the ROTC route to still pursue his desire to serve in the armed forces.
Gross admits he is not exactly sure where his patriotism stems from but said his grandfather served in the Air Force.
“I think I just wanted to be part of a really tight knit brotherhood,” Gross said. “Sports is good and all but I just wanted to explore myself a little more and try to be in a leadership position.”
At Bath, Gross was an all-state, special mention selection and first-team all-Northwest District linebacker. He was a first-team All-Western Buckeye League running back and linebacker. Gross has been invited to play in Ohio’s North-South All-Star game in Massillon this spring.
In the classroom, Gross will graduate with honors and he has earned more than 30 college credits while in high school.
Gross is still unsure of his major but he is looking at either biology or military and strategy studies.
Gross said he is confident he can compete at the Division I level but added at the end of the day he is there to be a second lieutenant.
Bath high school coach Bill Garland said Gross is more than capable of playing at the Division I level.
“I think Bo is a great fit for Air Force,” Garland said. “He is a downhill, hard-nose runner that is a ball security guy and doesn’t turn the ball over. He will be a great fit in that triple option offense from the fullback position. He is an all-in kid that will get up every morning and give Air Force 110 percent every day.”
Going to the Air Force Academy, Gross understand the rigors of playing athletes and becoming an officer and said he feels he is up to the challenge.
“They talked to us about it…told us that if you want to succeed here you can succeed,” Gross said.
Wapakoneta’s Landon Hall has signed to play football at Tiffin University and, teammate Tristan Meyer, a kicker, has committed to play at the University of Findlay.
Hall, a third-team all-Ohio and first-team all-Northwest Ohio selection, was the Western Buckeye League’s defensive back of the year. At linebacker for the Redskins who that shared the WBL title, Hall recorded 85 tackles and six tackles for loss.
“I think I made a great decision,” Hall said. “I love the coaches and I loved the facilities. I think the team is on the right path. They actually have a strong recruiting class coming in and I am looking forward to being a part of it.”
Hall will be studying criminal justice at Tiffin.
Meyer, who was also a third-team, All-Ohio and first-team, All-Northwest district selection, was the WBL specialist of the year.
This past season, Meyer was 40-for-40 on point after attempts and 8 of 11 on field goal tries. For his career, he is 22 of 26 on field goal attempts.
“I chose Findlay because of the great location and the students there,” Meyer said. “I loved the coaching staff there. My parents and I visited there for academics and found a great academic structure there. I feel Findlay has the best of both worlds.”
Meyer will be studying biology in hopes of being an orthodontist.
Lima Senior running back Jaden Walker, who postponed his ceremony to sign a letter of intent, has committed to Grand Valley State according to Lima Senior High School.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on Twitter at @JoseNogueras1