Haupt commits during West Point visit

Hayden Haupt took the cross-country flight from Fresno, Calif. to Newark, N.J., this past weekend arriving at his final destination to West Point, N.Y. The official visit for the 6-foot-2, 223-pound outside linebacker produced an unexpected commitment for Haupt to Army head football coach Jeff Monken.

Haupt recapped his visit and commitment with ArmySports.com.

"The official visit went really, really well," said Hayden Haupt. "I made the trip with both parents. They coaches were so friendly and welcoming. They acted like they've known me their whole life. Seeing the history of the academy was incredible. The facilities were nice, way better than I ever expected them to be.

"The best moment of the weekend, I'd have to say was watching a highlight video on Army's season. There was a game where it was raining heavily, hailing, that sort of thing, and Coach Monken said to the players, 'This is the U.S. Army, we can play through anything.' That's when I realized how huge it was to attend West Point and be a part of their football program."

After a weekend of tour campus with player-host, Bayle Wolfe, and talking with position coach, Jovan Dewitt, Haupt was ready to make the call.

"I committed to Coach Monken on Sunday morning," Haupt explained. "I went into his office with my parents and after we asked him a few questions I told him that I wanted (West Point) to be the next chapter in my life. He seemed very excited. He stood up right away and shook my hand which kind of turned into a bro hug.

"Coach Dewitt was actually the first coach (from Army) to start recruiting me. His philosophy (as a linebackers coach) is to make the game as simple as possible for his players, coming up with game plans they can easily understand. He doesn't want the linebackers to have to think too much on the field, but to rely on their athletic ability to make plays. It's an approach that I respect and appreciate.

A three-year starter at Clovis North High School, Haupt was named All-Tri-River as senior at middle linebacker. He'll begin his next summer at West Point Prep instead of going directly into the USMA, a move he feels will be beneficial in his development.

"Going to Prep will give me the chance to add some size and speed and learn their system," he said. "Obviously,the academics (at West Point) are going to be strenuous so it will help acclimate me there as well by taking time management classes. I think it will be a good thing for me in the long run.

"A big factor in my decision was the closeness I felt among the players. I've been texting with James Gibson, a guy who committed there from Virginia. It seems like the team is made up of guys who are influenced by the idea of the team as a family and being as close as possible. I think the same way, it's how we thought of each other at my high school, and I want to look forward to connecting with and spending the next four-five year of my life with those guys."

While Haupt's only offer at the time of his commitment was from Army, he had a been offered, previously, by Colorado State when Jim McElwain was the head coach.

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