Academy Athletes: Ty MacArthur

The late, great Beano Cook would have noticed -- and probably remarked on -- the deliciousness of a MacArthur returning to the Air Force Academy and not West Point. Air Force's best offensive player is not its field general, but Ty MacArthur will need to imbue this team with a sense of swagger, thereby providing more than just numerical production.

Things have been going downhill for Air Force (albeit only slightly) for a few seasons now. While the Falcons have still been able to get themselves into bowl games, the reality is that 2012 was yet another season in which the team limped into a bowl game instead of charging into it with supreme confidence. Once again the Falcons face significant turnover on the roster, with a modest 12 starters returning from last year's squad of 22. One of those guys is Ty MacArthur. On a team replacing its quarterback and backfield, MacArthur's experience will prove to be hugely important – he will have to knit together Air Force's offense in a number of evident and subtle ways.

MacArthur really made his impact felt in 2012 after playing junior varsity as a freshman and getting minimal time as a sophomore. Last season he led the Falcons in catches with 24 for 411 yards, and he also carried the ball 57 times, which is actually the second most carries of any returning Falcon in 2013. The key point to emphasize is that head coach Troy Calhoun made it a priority to get the ball into MacArthur's hands, and while Air Force isn't a passing team by any means, MacArthur still returns as the team's top receiver. How he'll be used in the triple-option this season – and whether he'll get similar carries – remains to be seen, but without a doubt, he is the team's go-to offensive player. He will be expected to produce at a high level, getting ample touches in open space both as a result of good play design and the quality of his own athleticism.

There are certainly some things for MacArthur and Air Force to play for in 2013. There are the six consecutive bowl games the program has been to. There's the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy the Falcons will try to reclaim. For MacArthur and many of these players, this season stands out as a final chance to put on the pads before they go on to fulfill far more important duties than rounding out an NFL scout team. Ty MacArthur isn't a superstar or nationally-known name on a far-reaching scale, but he's a guy worth keeping an eye on this season for the 2013 Falcons.

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