Taiwo Atunrase felt a calling to Army during his football recruiting even through his commitment to Air Force in April.
So much that Atunrase called Army offensive line coach Mike Viti while he was currently pledged to Air Force and said, “something isn’t sitting right in my spirit.”
All three service academies – Air Force, Navy and Army in that order – had offered the Cole (San Antonio, Texas) safety. He visited all three academies in April, attending Army’s spring game.
“I believe God was leading me to West Point but I just didn’t know what to do after I’ve already made my commitment to Air Force,” Atunrase said. “Army was always in my heart.”
Army’s offer was still on the table for Atunrase in the new year and he decommitted from Air Force last week. Coach Jeff Monken paid Atunrase a visit to his high school earlier this week. After a conversation with Monken, Atunrase, in his ROTC uniform, shook the coach’s hand, committing to Army.
Monken said, “Welcome to the Long Gray Line.”
“Coach Monken expressed how much I would make a difference,” Atunrase said. “It was just a great conversation and for the head coach to come all the way to my school to talk to me means a lot.”
Maybe, one of the reasons for Atunrase’s calling to Army with his family’s service in the military branch. His mother, Princess is an active-duty colonel in the Army. His father, Aliu, retired with the rank of staff sergeant. His grandfather, Columbus Merriweather was a sergeant. Atunrase is an executive officer in his fifth year in the Junior ROTC.
Atunrase and his twin brother, Kenny, played in the Blue-Grey High School All-American game in December at AT&T Stadium. on3.com ranks Atunrase as the 206th best safety in the 2024 class and the 313th best player in the Texas. Atunrase likes how Army’s defense under coordinator Nate Woody plays fast and physical.
“That game against Air Force (a 22-3 win in November) proved a lot of the doubters wrong,” said the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Atunrase said. “They can play against anyone.”
“I think my skill will fit (in Army’s defense), it’s just a matter of when and where. I’ll make an impact and make it to the league. I believe that. I want (Army fans) to know they’re not just getting a big-time football player but a big-time person who will make a difference in this country. I AM Taiwo Atunrase.”