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Changes in altitude; Warren-Mott senior heads to Air Force Academy PHOTO GALLERY

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Off he goes, into the wild blue yonder.

Those lyrics ring true for Warren-Mott senior student-athlete Kris Campbell for a couple of reasons.

The two-way lineman will be playing football at the Air Force Academy. The location of the academy is Colorado Springs, altitude of 6,035 feet.

Who can blame Campbell if he was soaring at least that high Wednesday, which was national signing day?

“It is definitely surreal, but it is a great opportunity,” said Campbell, an all-county player who also carries a 4.2 grade point average and is ranked 10th academically in his class. “I came into high school really thinking I wanted to play college football, but after I tore my meniscus during my freshman season, I wondered if I just should concentrate on the medical field.”

Now he gets to do both. Campbell will join the incoming class at their Air Force and plans on studying either biology or chemistry. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, he would like to pursue a degree in medicine and wants to either become a sports medicine physician or an orthopedic surgeon.

Either way, he’ll tend to athletes like himself.

“I found that passion for the medical field after I injured my knee. I saw myself getting caught up in what was happening to me and my knee. It really ignited a passion. I injured my knee against Utica the fourth game of the season, but played the rest of the games that year. I was going one way and the guy I was locked up with was going the other way. It’s just something that happened,” said Campbell.

The fact that he stayed on the field for the rest of the season is no surprise to coach Tom Milanov. Despite being a bruising interior lineman who weighs upwards of 300 pounds, Campbell didn’t miss a play for the Marauders as a senior. He lined up for every play on offense and about half of the plays on defense. His coach figures that Campbell saw about 700 snaps for the Marauders.

Warren-Mott won 28 games during Campbell’s career. The Marauders made it into the state playoffs in every one of those singles.

He will be joining an Air Force program that is coming off one of the best seasons in school history. The Falcons finished the 2016 campaign 10-3l, completing just the seventh 10-win season in school history. They closed with a six-game win streak that included a 45-21 victory over South Alabama in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl, the team’s second bowl victory in three seasons. Among those 10 wins were triumphs over Army and Navy.

Campbell was primarily recruited by Ron Vanderlinden, a Divine Child grad who went on to star at Albion College before graduating in 1978. Vanderlinden’s extensive coaching resume includes a tenure as the head coach at Maryland and, most recently, before moving to Colorado Springs, he was the linebackers coach at Penn State.

“Kris is an outstanding young man,” said Milanov. “He is an all-around student-athlete. He is in the top 10 in his class. He is the type of person who should thrive at the Air Force Academy. When he asked me about the decision to attend the Air Force Academy, I told him I thought it was a no-brainer, especially with his desire to eventually attend medical school.”

An outstanding young man’s life is just starting to gain altitude. Off he goes into the wild blue yonder.

Last Updated: 2/1/2017 6:37:28 PM EST