This summer, a trio of players representing the service academies will trade their military uniforms for football pads in an NFL camp: Air Force defensive lineman Jordan Jackson, Air Force wide receiver Brandon Lewis, and Navy linebacker Diego Fagot.
The Falcons’ Jackson was taken in the sixth round of the NFL draft (#194) by the New Orleans Saints and the second-highest selection in Air Force program history. He will try to replicate the success of former Navy defensive lineman and NFL player Chad Hennings. Hennings was a nine-year starter for the Dallas Cowboys.
“Jackson closed his career as one of the all-time leaders in tackles for loss and sacks yardage at Air Force,” indicated an Air Force athletics press release. “
Jackson, a two-time second-team all-conference selection, registered 41 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 2021, reported Air Force athletics.
The wide receiver Lewis will soon be leaving Colorado Springs for Nashville, signing a free-agent contract with the Tennessee Titans. The Titans recently moved on from their A-list receiver A.J. Brown. According to the Air Force Academy, Lewis’ contract is pending, awaiting Secretary of Defense approval. The San Diego native led the Falcons in receiving, collecting 20 catches for 600 yards and three touchdowns.
Fagot was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Baltimore Ravens.
“I am super excited for Diego,” said Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo in a press release issued by Navy athletics. “He is the best defensive player we have had since I’ve been at Navy, and I’m excited for him to continue his journey.”
The four-year letter-winner and team captain amassed 282 career tackles, 35.5 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles, according to Navy athletics. In addition, Fagot was a three-time All-American Athletic Conference selection and designated the 2021 East-West Shrine Game’s Most Valuable Player.
Last year, Navy’s Cameron Kinley signed a free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his opportunity seemed dead in the water until granted an exemption by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, delaying the defensive back’s service commitment. After playing well in a pre-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Kinley was ultimately released in August.