Jaleel Awini: Always An Athlete

Jaleel Awini grew up in the Denver, Colorado area playing team sports. Jaleel Awini‘s athletic ability, honed by hears of practice and play, resulted in him winning four college scholarship offers.

“I have been an athlete all my life,” he says. “Played football, basketball and baseball in high school, Played football in college on athletic scholarship, two years at the Air Force Academy and two years at the University of Colorado, Boulder. I was the quarterback at the Air Force Academy and switched to wide receiver at CU.”

His skill as a quarterback won him the Gatorade Colorado High School Player of the Year for 2010-11. But playing in multiple sports is what turned him into an excellent all-around athlete.

Former pro player and current NBA Vice President Kiki VanDeWeghe says all kids should play as many different sports as they can. “Youths participating in sports have opportunities to enhance self-esteem, socialize with peers and improve general health and fitness, setting the stage for an active adult lifestyle.”

Jaleel Awini also excelled in the classroom, maintaining a 3.17 grade point average. His interests include real estate, politics, finance, and the law, and he earned a degree in Economics at the University of Colorado.


Jaleel Awini: A Different Toughness

Jaleel Awini entered the Air Force Academy as one of the football program’s most promising players. He was the 2010-2011 Gatorade Colorado Football Player of the Year in his senior year at Rangeview High School, when, as the quarterback, he led his team to an 11-1 record and took them to the Class 5A state quarterfinals.

As an Air Force Academy Falcon, he was a redshirt freshman, meaning he was with the team but was deliberately kept from playing, so that he could continue to develop at that higher level of play. In his sophomore year, he had the chance to transfer to the University of Colorado, in Boulder

“I feel like this is where I should be,” he said, after becoming a Buffalo. “I’m happy here.”

As a Colorado native, the Buffaloes were the team he dreamed of playing for as he grew up in in the Denver area. “Those Colorado teams I saw as a kid [in the early 2000s], that’s the reason I started playing football,” he said. The quarterback position was locked up at first and second string, so he switched to linebacker and then, more comfortable on offense, to wide receiver.

Jaleel Awini impressed CU head coach Mike MacIntyre with his toughness. “When you move a quarterback over, you’re worried about them going and hitting somebody,” he said. “That’s a different toughness. He does that.”

Jaleel Awini: Back On Offense

Jaleel Awini grew up in the Denver area and always dreamed of playing football at the University of Colorado in nearby Boulder. Jaleel Awini played quarterback at Rangeview High School in Aurora, and in his senior year took the Raiders to the Class 5A state quarterfinals. That same year, he was named the Gatorade Colorado Football Player of the Year.

He was courted by the University of Colorado for a while, but a shake-up in the coaching staff took him to the Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs. He had settled on Air Force after receiving full scholarship offers to several D1 schools, including Colorado State University, Vanderbilt and East Washington University.

Two years later he was able to transfer to CU, and after sitting out a year due to eligibility rules, he finally became a Buff.

For most of his CU career Jaleel Awini played linebacker. But in a game against Utah in his junior year, CU’s starting quarterback went down with an injury, and he got into the game behind center. Behind by two touchdowns, Jaleel led the Buffs on a touchdown drive that brought them to within six points.

On the next possession, CU went with another backup quarterback and wound up losing the game, but Jaleel Awini took it in stride. Even though I wish I had more time, I was grateful for the opportunity,” he said. “And I am happy to be back on offense now for my senior year, which might be my last year playing football.”

Jaleel Awini graduated with a degree in Economics in December 2016.

Jaleel Awini: Catching On Quick

Jaleel Awini excelled in both the classroom and on the athletic field as a student at Rangeview High School in Aurora, Colorado. Jaleel Awini maintained a 3.17 grade point average, and was the sports editor of the school newspaper.

But it was his athletic prowess that really made people take notice. “He is the fastest player on the field, and runs so effortlessly that he looks like he never shifts into full gear,” said the head coach of one of Rangeview’s rivals. “Athletically, he is on a different level than nearly ever player in our state.”

That ability earned him the 2010-11 Gatorade Football Player of the Year award. His senior year on the gridiron was truly exceptional. The six-foot three-inch quarterback led his team to an eleven-and-one record and took them to the Class 5A state quarterfinals. His quarterback stats were remarkable. He threw for 1,266 yards with twenty-three touchdowns and just one interception, completing seventy-eight of 136 passes. He also carried the ball 116 time for 1,078 yards with sixteen touchdowns.

Awini’s athletic accomplishments in high school caught the eye of schools throughout the country, and earned him scholarship offers to such well-known programs as Colorado State University, East Washington University, Vanderbilt and the Air Force Academy.

After two years in the football program at the Air Force Academy, Jaleel Awini transferred to the University of Colorado, where he’d always dreamed of playing. “He’s doing a really good job,” said head coach Mike MacIntyre. “He’s got speed and running some things down. He’s catching on quick.”

Jaleel Awini: “I Can’t Complain”

Jaleel Awini transferred from the United States Air Force Academy football program to the University of Colorado, about an hour and a half away by car. A standout high school football player from the Denver area, he grew up dreaming of playing for CU.Jaleel Awini

About the only drawback to the switch was that his customary position was not available, so the quarterback became a linebacker. “I am enjoying it,” the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Awini said after making the switch. “I was a little sad a couple of times about moving from quarterback, but I just wanted to help the team in any way.”

In his senior year at Rangeview High School, Jaleel Awini was named Colorado’s Gatorade Player of the Year. He ran for more than a thousand yards and threw twenty-three touchdown passes with only one interception. He played quarterback at the Air Force Academy and hoped to be taking snaps at CU, but that wasn’t in the cards. “We have a pretty good quarterback right now in Sefo,” he said at the time, meaning Sefo Liufau. “So I can’t complain.” In time, he found himself back on offense as a wide receiver.

Prior to his transfer to CU, Awini had received full scholarship offers to such schools as Colorado State University, Vanderbilt University, East Washington University and the Air Force Academy.

Always an excellent student, Jaleel Awini majored in Economics and graduated in December of 2016.

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Jaleel Awini: How to Get Recruited to Play Sports in College

Like many high school athletes, Jaleel Awini dreamt of playing sports in college. With a lot of hard work and dedication, he was awarded an athletic scholarship to play football at the Air Force Academy. Not all high school athletes are lucky enough to continue playing sports at the collegiate level. If fact, less than ten percent of all high school athletes actually go on to play in college. Here are some things you can do to improve your chances of landing a spot on your college’s team.


  1. Take the right classes starting your freshman year. The National College Athletic Association, NCAA, has numerous eligibility standards that must be met if you want to play college sports.
  2. Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center to validate your amateur athlete status. It is a relatively pain-free process, but crucial if you want to play at the collegiate level.
  3. Create your lists. You should compile three lists; one that contains your dream schools, one that has schools you could realistically get into, and a list of your fallback schools. There should be no more than twelve to fifteen schools listed to help you focus your search.
  4. One of the most important ways to attract the attention of college coaches is to create a recruiting video. It should contain fifteen to twenty-five highlight plays that show off your ability.

Playing college athletics is every high school athletes dream. Jaleel Awini got to realize that dream when the Air Force Academy recruited him to join their team as the quarterback.