Studying and playing football at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., was so far off Trenton “Tiny” Noller’s radar that he could barely see it.
“No way. I never even thought about it,” Noller said. “Even when they first offered me, I was thinking to myself, ‘There’s no way I’m going to Navy. Then after learning more about it and stuff, I jut realized that’s probably the best fit for me.”
When it came to Noller’s Windsor High School teammate, Zach Peck, whose dad served in the Navy for 22 years and who thought about attending a service academy since before he entered high school, he was all in.
“I’ve been a Navy kid my whole life,” Peck said.
Noller and Peck signed national letters of intent on Wednesday to play football and become student-athletes at the Naval Academy in the fall, and the two can’t wait to get started.
Noller, who also received scholarship offers to play at Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico State, Georgia Tech and the University of Northern Colorado, said it felt good to get everything in writing.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Peck, who is being pegged to play outside linebacker or defensive line for the Midshipmen, and the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Noller, who will get looks on the offensive line, as well as nose tackle, are going to an established program. Navy, who is coached by Ken Niumatalolo, went 9-4 in 2013 and won the Armed Forces Bowl 24-6 against Middle Tennessee State.
“They, by far, have the best coaching staff I’ve ever experienced,” Noller said. “The people there are what changed me. After looking at the whole military aspect, I decided that’s the best for me. I started seriously considering it about a month ago, and being there (for an official visit (Jan. 24-26) I knew it was the right fit.”
Noller, who said he’ll probably major in engineering, said it will be awesome having Peck there with him.
“It’s going to make it a lot easier I think as far as getting used to everything and stuff,” Noller said. “It’s a good situation. Me and Chuck are going to be the only ones from Colorado, and we want to represent our state really well.”
Peck feels the same way.
“It’s awesome having Tiny go with me. We’ve been friends since I first moved here in eighth grade,” Peck said. “It’s just awesome knowing that I’m going to have a really good friend to be able to go through that whole process with, and know I’ll never really be alone.”
Noller said the Navy coaches want him to drop 10 to 15 pounds.
“I’ll probably be playing at 305 or 300,” said Noller, the son of Martin and Julie Noller of Severance.
Peck said it’s an awesome feeling to know where he’ll be playing and what his future holds. The son of Terisa and Bruce Peck of Windsor, Peck’s career goal is to become an aviation officer.
Wizards football coach Chris Jones said it’s rewarding to have two of his players from the same class heading to Annapolis.
“I know they’re going to be out there doing some things that other people haven’t done just to play football, and then on top of that they’re preparing themselves to do something that a lot of people won’t do and that’s to serve our country and protect the United States,” Jones said. “I’ve always been a Navy football fan. I record every game that comes on. I can’t wait to go to our first Army-Navy game. To see those guys go out there is going to be real exciting. To have two kids from our high school go to the Naval Academy, I can’t really describe it in words. I’m so honored to be in their midst.”