Posted On: 07/28/20 5:00 PM
Being accepted into a United States military academy is one of the hardest things to accomplish as a high school student. It’s not just a grades or ACT thing, it’s an overall character evaluation that doubles as a test to find out if you will be able to withstand one of the most difficult, yet fulfilling, four-year institutions in the nation. Not only do you have rigorous classes, but cadets need to fulfill military training requirements, physical fitness tests, and medical standards. Because of these high demands, interested high schoolers need to secure a recommendation to the academy – usually from a United States Congressperson or Senator. To put it in a more simple fashion, it is a helluva lot more complicated than what I had to do to apply to St. Olaf College. United States military academy football recruits are no different, and in-fact the coaches who work for these institutions have a much higher precedence to be able to identify smart, high-character, motivated, and of course athletic football recruits more so than any other coaching staffs in America. The prospects recruited by these academies need to be able to not only play FBS football at the highest level possible, but also have to balance a full-course load as well as all of the military and physical standards set for them at their schools. It takes a very rare and very specific type of recruit to meet these demands, but luckily the United States Air Force Academy nabbed the commitment of a prospect that checks all of the boxes needed for a successful #BoltBrotherhood member, and then some. Meet Fridley’s standout DT Cheick KabaCheickKaba6'1" | DLFridley | 2021StateMN, PrepRedzoneMN’s #34 overall recruit and #4 ranked Dlineman, who just committed to Air Force a day ago. The 6’2, 270 lber. is an explosive and dominant Dlineman with all of the strength and mobility that you’re looking for in a D1 defensive lineman. He moves extremely well for his size, and was one of 5A’s and the Metro’s most dominant two-way players in 2019. College’s took notice, and prior to his Air Force offer two days ago he held eight NSIC offers and FCS opportunities from Valparaiso, Eastern Illinois, and Long Island. It was a lengthy-sheet of suitors, but when that FBS Air Force offer came in Kaba took a night to sleep on it and committed the very next day to become a member of the #BoltBrotherhood. Luckily, PrepRedzoneMN got Kaba to answer a few of our questions regarding his recruitment, the commitment, playing with another stud Minnesotan in college, and more, so you can get some in-depth info on his commitment. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy! Year Three highlights
PrepRedzoneMN: Hello and congratulations on the commitment, Cheick! Please begin by sharing with us a little bit about your recruitment process as a whole. When did you start hearing from schools and how did those connections start? Also what were some interesting parts of the recruiting process for you? Which of your offers before Air Force was the most exciting?
Kaba: “My recruitment process began after my junior season mid-November. I started reaching out to coaches via email and Twitter. The first big experience was taking a game day visit at Iowa State. After that experience and reaching out to coaches I got in contact with a lot of the NSIC DII’s and FCS programs around Minnesota. I started getting junior day invites from many levels like NAIA, JUCO, D3-D1. One big factor for me was not the level of play, it was the degree and the brotherhood off and on the field. Football is not forever that’s what you got to understand. Pick a school that’s gonna put you on the road for success in life. Covid also changed the recruitment process big-time a lot of the spring recruitment events got cancelled. Which challenged most recruitment process and made things a little harder. One of the biggest days in my life was the day I got an offer from University of Minnesota Duluth. That was just the start , it built my confidence and made me want to work harder and earn more offers.”
PRzMN: How did the Air Force offer happen and what did it feel like?
Kaba: “I’ve been talking to Air Force for a long time. At first it was the academic piece, Air Force is a very prestigious school academically, The coaching staff said I have to push and maintain better grades and everything will turn out good. So I listened and trusted them, I ended up finishing my Junior Year with a 3.66. Me and Coach Means have just been talking day by day, finally I got that call I was pumped up.I called Terrance and told him the news, we were both pumped.”
PrepRedzoneMN: Well said. What ultimately led you to commit to Air Force? What did you like about the program and what stood out to you about them? Who else were you considering in the final stages of your recruitment?
Kaba: “I’ve been talking to Coach Alex Means (outside linebackers coach) since May. He was recruiting me day by day, but really one big thing was the opportunities I’ll have in life. Air Force had all 3 of my biggest factors. A high level football program, a high significance of a degree, and the opportunities it has for me in Life. The whole “military school” thing didn’t faze me at all It’s going to build character and high morals for me, I also will be going through the whole process with one of my best friends. I didn’t really have a top selection of school I was just grateful and blessed for the opportunities I had.”
PRzMN: Tell us a little about Fridley’s season in 2019. What were some big and memorable games for you and what can we expect from you and the Tigers in 2020?
Kaba: “You can expect Fridley to be coming back stronger, smarty and faster as a whole. We have a great senior class hidden with talent and some young guys who will step up and be dawgs on the field. The program will continue to get better year after year, especially with the young guys coming in. One person to watch for in the next 2-3 years is Tykeilan Lee. That kid is a stud!”
PRzMN: What position will you be playing in college? And what kind of player is the Air Force’s #BoltBrotherhood getting?
Kaba: “I will he playing DT/NT – all depends on how the coaching staff would like to use by body and frame. Air Force will be getting a player who is a team players always put the guys first and think about the team. Someone you can trust off and on the field.The BOLTBROTHERHOOD is full of Love, and those guys will be my best friends/ teammates for the next 4-5 years.”
PRzMN: How did Terrance KamaraTerranceKamara5'9" | RBMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN’s commitment to Air Force affect your decision to commit, if it did at all? Either way, how excited are you to play with a 612 product in college?
Kaba: “Terrance KamaraTerranceKamara5'9" | RBMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN commitment to Air Force was a big factor. Air Force was already a favorite because of the opportunities it will have. Knowing I will have a good friend with me through the whole process is just a dream. That’s every kids dream, playing a D1 sport with the best friend. I’m excited to be playing with Terrance KamaraTerranceKamara5'9" | RBMinneapolis North | 2021StateMN and witness his journey to the NFL.”
PRzMN: How good does it feel to be committed heading into your senior season? Is it relieving? Also, are you trying to get any other MN boys to commit to Air Force? There’s a few preps out there with offers right now still uncommitted.
Kaba: “It a big relief off my shoulders because I don’t have to worry about the recruitment process. My only focus now is getting better as a student athlete and a teammate. Next on my list is a State Ring! I’m not gonna speak to much on this one but we got some guys coming #MNBrotherhood.”