By David Fong
TROY — Just in case Jared Bair had any lingering doubts about where he would be going to college, he received a sign from above.
“We were walking back down to the football center from class when two F-16s or F-22s (fighter jets) flew over us,” the Troy High School senior football player said of his weekend visit to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. “That’s when I knew for sure this was probably the place for me.”
Wednesday, Bair made it official as he signed his national letter of intent to attend school at the Air Force Academy and play football for the Falcons. Bair saw his final decision come down to the Air Force Academy and Robert Morris University.
Concerned about the mandatory five-year commitment all cadets must make to the Air Foce following their college graduations, Bair had been leaning toward RMU, but the visit to Colorado over the weekend sealed the deal for the Falcons.
“I was a little nervous about making that commitment,” Bair said. “But then when I went out there and was able to meet some of the players, I was able to clear things up with some of the guys. While I was out there, I started to realize I could fit in there. The opportunity the Air Force Academy provides was one I didn’t think I could pass up.”
On the football field, Bair was a three-year starter for the Trojans, playing on both the offensive lines throughout his career. He was first-team All-Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division as a senior, second-team All-GWOC North as a junior and earned special mention honors as a sophomore.
His senior year, Bair finished with 64 tackles. 4.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.
“They want me to play defensive line,” said Bair, who was recruited in part by linebackers coach Matt Weikert, a Covington High School graduate. “They think I’m pretty versatile. Depending on how things go, I could stay outside and play a five technique, or I could move inside and play a three technique.”
Bair also excels in the classroom, holding a 3.85 grade point average. He said he is looking forward to the challenge of the Air Force Academy, which has some of the highest academic standards in the nation.
All things considered, Bair said now that he’s visited campus, he can’t see himself anyplace other than the Air Force Academy.
“I think this is the best thing for my future,” he said. “After I graduate, I’ll already have a job lined up. If I decide to leave he Air Force after my five years, I’ll have an Ivy League-type education. Plus, it’s a chance to play big-time, Division I college football. They play in the ‘Big House’ (at the University of Michigan) in 2017 and they’ve been to a bowl game eight years in a row. This is something I’ve always dreamed of.”