The Pirate's work ethic allows him to land at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Some athletes are born with the natural talent to “flip the switch” when they step on the field.
Braden River High rising senior defensive end/linebacker Andrew BoisD’Enghien is not one of them.
BoisD’Enghien, by his own admission, possessed neither great athleticism nor a killer instinct when he began playing football. Growing up in multiple California cities, and playing for multiple youth football teams, BoisD’Enghien typically rode the bench, often getting just seven to 10 plays a game at defensive end or linebacker. He wanted to play more, he said, but he knew coaches would not let him unless he developed the right on-field attitude.
“I would think that I was giving it my all,” BoisD’Enghien said. “Then I would come home and watch film and see that I was not.”
Football runs in the BoisD’Enghien family. Andrew loved the game. He watched his older brothers, James and Matt BoisD’Enghien, play. He learned.
Eventually, he knew he would have to outwork his opponents. He knew he could control his amount of effort. In eighth grade, he started playing more, and as his confidence grew, so did his aggressiveness. It was his freshman season at Orange County’s Tesoro High where things changed forever. BoisD’Enghien said the Tesoro staff, including head coach Matt Poston, taught him the techniques he needed to become a force despite his average speed.
That season, Tesoro defeated rival Mission Viejo High for the first time since 2008. It was the most fun BoisD’Enghien had ever experienced playing football, he said, and the coaching staff had promised him a shot at a starting position as a sophomore.
Then, because of myriad factors, he and his family moved to Bradenton.
BoisD’Enghien had made significant gains, but once again, he found himself on the bench. The Pirates had players who were more athletically gifted than Tesoro, something he could see in practice. He remembered trying to tackle running back DeShaun Fenwick, now at South Carolina, and feeling slightly overmatched. But he also wanted to get on the field, so he did the only thing he could do to make himself better.
“I tried to get on as many special team units as I could,” BoisD’Enghien said. “It was rough, but I was used to it from my years in Pop Warner. Other kids didn’t know what it was like. That was my advantage. I didn’t quit, and it worked out for me.”
BoisD’Enghien played more as a junior, recording 32 tackles (16 solo) in 11 games, including eight tackles for loss. The 6-foot-3 lineman also got in the weight room. By the Pirates’ 2019 spring practice sessions, BoisD’Enghien weighed 245 pounds. He stayed up late into the night filling out online recruiting profiles, hoping to get more recognition. He held one collegiate offer, from Jacksonville, but Braden River coaches told him he might get more with a strong spring game performance.
Scouts agreed. Big County Preps, a football scouting service focused on Florida, said BoisD’Enghien “looks like a coach’s dream,” and gave him points for his sound positioning and getting the little things right.
BoisD’Enghien didn't let them down. Against Lehigh Senior High on May 17, he had the best game of his career: 12 tackles (seven for loss) and 4.5 sacks in a 35-17 road win. Two days later, BoisD’Enghien got a call from the U.S. Air Force Academy, offering him a scholarship.
The idea scared his family at first. Was the kid who had trouble developing aggressiveness going to prepare for actual war at a service academy?
After talking with Air Force coaches and alumni, everyone's fears subsided. For an upcoming four years, he will be trying out the military lifestyle while playing football. BoisD’Enghien said he wants to be a trauma surgeon, to be on call for soldiers who need help. The Air Force will pay for his medical school tuition, he said, if he still feels connected to that path at graduation.
BoisD’Enghien took a visit to campus on June 20 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Five days later, he was committed.
“They told me they see a lot of potential in me,” BoisD’Enghien said. “They like my hard-working mentality. They like that football was never super easy for me. I had to give more effort than other kids to get to this level.
“A lot of people told me, ‘You’ll know when it is time to commit.’ When I visited, I loved the area, with the mountains in the background. The facilities are incredible, I have never seen anything like them. It all just felt right.”