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Illinois lineman Kyle Baltazar finds his place with Army

Kyle Baltazar lost track of the number of schools that he visited during recruiting this spring.

Baltazar received 10 offers or opportunities to continue his football career ranging from Ivy League and Patriot League schools in the FCS to Army.

There was always “something special about Army,” Baltazar said. Army’s facilities and resources were unmatched. The Loyola (Ill.) Academy offensive lineman would have a chance to play at the highest level.

Baltazar bonded with Army’s coaching staff, specifically recruiter and co-offensive coordinator Matt Drinkall. And, Baltazar’s desire to serve in the military only helped matters.

“There is no better place to start that (military) journey (than West Point) especially paired with their football,” said the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Baltazar, who committed to Army Saturday (August 5).

Baltazar said he “saw everything he needed to and knew Army was the place that I wanted to be” during his second visit to West Point on July 28.

“My whole family has always supported me,” Baltazar said. “So when I told them I wanted to play football they supported me right away and helped me in every way they could.

“I have always had an interest in the military since I was young. I don’t know exactly what sparked that but I always have.”

Baltazar connected with two current Army players from Illinois along his recruiting journey. He met sophomore cornerback Jabril Williams on one of his visits and long snapper Owen Walter on another.

And, Army coach Jeff Monken, who grew up in Illinois, made sure to tell Baltazar that they were from the same state,

Baltazar was a lacrosse goalie and helped Loyola Academy to a state championship his sophomore season before stopping playing to focus on football.

“It was hard to give it up after playing for so long (eight years) but it was something that I wanted to do to be able tom get offseason work in for football and be able to give my undivided attention to football.”

The decision was the right one for the future Black Knight.

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