Will Donald Hammond III ever get back under-center for Air Force?
The answer to that question became a bit more clouded a few days ago.
Back in July, the Air Force quarterback was deemed a cadet “no longer in good standing.” It seemed there was a possibility he could get back in good standing and still suit up for Air Force this season, but prior to Air Force’s season-opener against Navy, head coach Troy Calhoun ducked a question about Hammond.
Then, on Oct. 23, multiple outlets — including the Gazette, Rivals and KOAA — reported that Hammond had entered the transfer portal. Hammond is not listed on Air Force’s roster, but still has “QB1 @ Air Force” in his Twitter bio and used the social media channel to root for the Falcons on Saturday vs. San Jose State.
Don’t ever ever count my brothers out. @AF_Football game’s not over until it’s OVER.— Dj Hammond (@dhamm_3) October 25, 2020
Of course, just because Hammond entered the portal doesn’t mean he will leave the Air Force Academy. Last spring, Falcons’ men’s basketball player AJ Walker entered the portal, but wound up backing out of a transfer.
If Hammond does leave, the team that lands him will be getting a talented dual-threat quarterback with two years of eligibility remaining.
He was a big reason why Air Force had one of its most successful seasons ever last year, finishing 11-2 with a Cheez-It Bowl victory and a No. 22 ranking in the final AP Top 25 Poll. Hammond completed 56-of-111 passes for 1,316 yards and 13 touchdowns, and also rushed for 553 yards and another 13 touchdowns. He was second in the Mountain West in touchdowns-responsible-for. This preseason, he was named to the watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award.
But as Brent Briggeman of the Gazette writes, there could be hurdles for Hammond to play elsewhere because of his military commitment. Cadets become locked into that commitment as juniors.
“They cannot voluntarily leave after that point, and those removed from the academy for violations as juniors and seniors are still expected to complete the military commitment as enlisted airmen and could be required to pay the cost of their education.”
It remains to be seen if the 6-foot-2 native of Hampton, Georgia will ever wear a Falcons’ uniform again.