College Football Recruiting

Exclusive: 3-star Upland ATH Gary Theard names top schools, Navy and Air Force

Photo Credit: Blair Angulo/
Exclusive: 3-star Upland ATH Gary Theard names top schools, Navy and Air Force

Upland High School (Upland, California) class of 2017 athlete Gary Theard exclusively revealed to that he was officially considering only two schools: Navy and Air Force in his recruiting process.

Theard, who will commit tomorrow, January 12th, told me that his top five included Utah, Colorado State, San Jose State, Navy, and Air Force. The consensus three-star recruit also holds offers from New Mexico, UNLV, Nevada, Army, Idaho, Montana State, Hawaii, and Fresno State.

“I’m committing January 12th because I have narrowed down my recruitment to two schools, Navy and Air Force,” Theard said. “I took my Navy official visit back during the regular season, and I took my Air Force official [visit] the weekend of January 5th-8th. After I got back it gave me a couple of days to compare the two programs which will ultimately lead to my decision.”

Theard has ties to Navy, as he told me he had a teammate at Upland, Elijah Jones, who is currently a sophomore cornerback at the Naval academy. He told me that when he took his visit to Navy’s Annapolis, Maryland campus, he met some recruits who were already committed to the school.

“Actually, several Navy commits were blowing my notifications up with reasons why to go there and that I should join their brotherhood,” said Theard.

When asked what is influencing his decision, Theard responded, “I’m listening to each point of view, but at the end of the day, I’m going to choose the program that is the best for me and will set me up to be the man that I always wanted to be.”

The two academies have storied histories, are notorious for doing exactly what Theard said, improving the lives of their students. Both have both produced their fair share of players who have gone on to star in the NFL, including Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, three-time Super Bowl champion defensive lineman Chad Hennings, and long snapper Joe Cardona, currently with the New England Patriots.

The 6’1,” 190-pound athlete said the outcome of the of Navy-Air Force on October 1, 2016, in which Air Force won 28-14 will not matter in his recruitment, saying, “I mean I don’t wanna base my decision based on the past, I’m going to decide based on the future of the program.”

Gary Theard noted that Air Force’s offensive backfield coach, Jake Campbell and head coach Troy Calhoun as well as Navy’s head coach, Ken Niumatalolo are the members of both coaching staff’s that have been most involved in his recruitment.

Theard recently competed in the San Diego vs. Inland Empire All-Star Game on December 30 as a member of the Inland Empire squad. While his team lost 21-7 in the end, he still had a positive outlook on the contest, remarking, “It was good, we fell short but at the end of the day, it was a fun game and always good to go against a top talented team like San Diego.”

He mentioned that players from the San Diego All-Star team, including two-star recruits Isaiah McDaniels and Brandon Lewis, both from Madison High School had committed to Air Force, but there were no Navy commits competing from either team.

Landing a commitment from Theard would no doubt be a big boost to Navy or Air Force’s 2017 recruiting class, which are ranked 76th and 99th respectfully by’s 2017 team recruitment rankings of over 200 Division I, II, and FCS football programs.

If he were to commit, Theard would be Air Force’s fourth three-star recruit and their highest rated wide receiver in their class of 2017. On the other hand, if he were to commit to Navy, he would become the Midshipmen’s 12th three-star, but also their highest rated receiver in their 2017 class.

For class of 2017 football recruits, National Signing Day is on February 1, making it unlikely that following his decision, Theard would then choose to swap schools.

This reporter, who has followed Gary Theard’s recruitment for close to a year wishes him the best of luck for his upcoming collegiate journey, regardless of his decision.

One thing is certain: Wherever Theard winds up, he’ll be looking to make an impact.

For exclusive, comprehensive, and free Chicagoland and elsewhere football recruiting coverage, you can look for more stories here, follow Peter Elliott on Twitter @PelliottSports, and email him at [email protected]

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