This could potentially be a significant development for the Air Force football program. And not a good one. At all.
Over the weekend, Air Force confirmed in a statement to the Colorado Springs Gazette that football player Donald Hammond III “is no longer a cadet in good standing.” As a result, the quarterback “cannot represent the academy in outside activities.” Just what transpired to bring about the senior’s unspecified violation is currently unclear.
The Gazette noted that there is precedent, including an issue a year ago involving the Falcons’ leading rusher, in which this current scenario leads to Hammond missing the entire 2020 season.
If that were to happen, it would be a sizable blow to the Falcons. And their offense.
After not seeing any action as a true freshman in 2017, Hammond started five of the nine games in which he played in 2018. This past season, he started 11 of 13 games for the Falcons. And what he did in 2019 was quite impressive. From ESPN.com:
Hammond… [led] the Falcons to an 11-2 record in 2019. He ran for 553 yards with 13 touchdowns, while passing for 1,316 with 13 more scores.
Hammond’s 177.88 passing efficiency mark in 2019 ranks second in Air Force history for a single season. He became the first Falcons quarterback since Dee Dowis in 1989 to throw for more than 300 yards in a game when he had 327 with four touchdowns in a 44-22 win at New Mexico on Nov. 23.
And if Hammond is indeed out for the season? Junior Warren Bryan would be the favorite to take over as the starter, even as he has posted no stats during his time with Air Force football.