Grain Valley quarterback Austin Gouldsmith was facing a dilemma. That’s when the United States Air Force Academy called.

Grain Valley quarterback Austin Gouldsmith was facing a dilemma.

“I’d made four trips (Southern Illinois, Northwest Missouri State, Pittsburg State and Nebraska-Omaha) and liked all the schools I’d visited,” said The Examiner’s 2009 All-Area first-team quarterback and Class 4 all-state player, “but I just wasn’t sure what I was going to do.

“It’s a big decision – and you want to make the right decision.”

That’s when the United States Air Force Academy called.

“I’d thought about the Air Force, and I guess they were thinking about me, too,” said Gouldsmith, who put up monster numbers on the ground and in the air this past season, rushing for 1,198 yards and 21 touchdowns and passing for 1,279 yards and another 13 touchdowns.

“The kid just had an amazing year,” Grain Valley football coach Forrest Rovello said. “First and foremost, Austin is one of the finest young men I’ve ever coached.

“And he was the leader on offense. The guys respected him and would do anything for him. He could beat you so many different ways – with his arm, with his legs and with his heart.

“It’s been a fun two years with him running the offense.”

As a junior, Gouldsmith and all-state wide receiver David Richards rewrote the Eagles record. Richards caught a single-season record 58 passes for 1,050 yards and 10 scores.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Gouldsmith also starred in baseball last season, hitting .418 with 26 RBIs. He was a member of The Examiner’s All-Area baseball team.

But football has always been his passion, and now, he will be able to continue his march on the gridiron at Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“I’m still working on all the paper work, but Coach (Troy) Calhoun visited with me and family at my house, and it’s pretty much a done deal,” Gouldsmith said. “I can’t tell you how exciting it is or how much relief I feel.

“It’s like the weight of the world has been taken off my chest. Now, I can enjoy the rest of my senior year in high school and not worry about college.”

Gouldsmith, who has a 3.69 GPA in weighted college courses, said the Air Force Academy will offer countless challenges.

“Right now, Coach Calhoun said they are recruiting me as a quarterback, and when I talked to their quarterback coach, I was very familiar with the terminology,” Gouldsmith said. “They run the same basic offense we ran at Grain Valley. He said a lot of things that I understood because we’ve been running it for the past two years. So I felt good about that.

“I don’t have any idea what I want to major in, but that’s no problem my first year. After I graduated, I will have a five-year commitment to the Air Force, and I think I can be a grad assistant for two of those years.

“I’m interested in exercise science, and they don’t offer that as a major. But they have a lot of majors I am interested in. And I plan to minor in Spanish.”

Gouldsmith will join Blue Springs all-state offensive lineman Drew Kerber at Air Force. Both have verbally committed and are expected to sign Wednesday on the first day of the national signing period.

“Drew Kerber is also going to Air Force, so we text and talk,” Gouldsmith said. “It will be great to have someone from close to home there, too.”