Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

How I Got In

By Todd Jagerson

ltrjkt_sm.jpg In high school I had been approached by several schools, but to avoid sitting out a year, I accepted a football scholarship to the University of Colorado where, as a freshman, I played against the Air Force Academy freshmen team. The game was played at the Academy on one of the most distant practice fields, and Coach Ben Martin had come out to watch the end of the game. He arrived late, the score was tied, and on the last play of the game a Colorado kid came running down the sideline on his way to score the winning touchdown. A large Academy kid was just about to tackle the ball-carrier when I tripped and hit him just right. It was a fluke hit but the kid did a flip and landed with a busted leg and the CU ball-carrier continued into the end zone for the winning TD. (If I remember correctly, the broken leg belonged to a future good friend, red-tag Jim Lang.)

Meanwhile, it was a frigid day, -6 degrees F when the game started, I had a cold, and I had received a deep cut on my forehead early in the game -- and the resulting mix of dirt, blood and mucus running down had frozen solid all over my face. Only later did I learn that Coach Martin happened to be standing on the sideline just five feet from the hit, and the fellow standing next to him was Jim Bowman, one of the Academy’s coaches and recruiters. As reported later, as I stood up and Martin saw my frozen blood and snot-covered face, Jim was pointing at me.

“That’s the Jagerson kid we’ve been talking to.”

“Jesus,” Ben answered, “that is one ugly kid... Get him!” And they did.
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