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Mill Creek's Ruechel commits to Air Force football

A.J. Ruechel couldn't pass up the post-college opportunity that the Air Force Academy offers.

The Mill Creek offensive lineman committed to the Falcons' football program on Tuesday where he plans to get one of the best educations in the country

"It was really nice. They have nice facilities," Ruechel said of the campus. "The education and opportunity after graduation is ridiculous. You can't beat it."

The estimated value of an education from the Air Force Academy is $420,000.

"The coaches were real with me, which I appreciate," Ruechel said.

Ruechel will make his commitment official on Wednesday during National Signing Day, the first day players can sign a national letter of intent.

Ruechel picked Air Force over Georgia Southern. He visited the Division I-FCS power Golden Eagles on Jan. 11 and then took a trip Colorado Springs, Colo., to check out the Falcons on Jan. 18.

"I really liked both schools a lot," Ruechel said. "I had to do what's best for my future. I know Air Force is the best choice for my future."

The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Ruechel is projected as a guard or possibly at tackle at Air Force. He was a dominant offensive lineman for the Hawks as a three-year starter. He posted an impressive 135 pancake blocks during his career, including a school-record 67 as a junior.

"(Air Force) runs the ball, which I like," Ruechel said.

Ruechel was a first-team all-county selection by the Gwinnett County Touchdown Club and first-team all Region 7-AAAAA selection. He played in the Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star game and was a second-team all-state selection by the Georgia Sports Writers Association.

He joins Brookwood's Jackson Bounamia, who has also committed to Air Force.

This will the ninth straight year that a Gwinnett County player has signed with Air Force. Since 2002, Gwinnett has had 19 players sign with the Falcons.

"I noticed that when I was up there," Ruechel said. "It was a big part of my decision with being so far from home. It's definitely nice knowing players from Gwinnett are out there."

Ruechel, who maintains a 3.8 GPA, plans to major in engineering.