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FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Brother Rice's Baltrusaitis picks Army, will serve his country & play for Black Knights

   | Scott Burnstein

FOOTBALL RECRUITING: Brother Rice's Baltrusaitis picks Army, will serve his country & play for Black Knights

BIRMINGHAM – In a few short months from now, Sage Baltrusaitis will be turning in his orange and black Birmingham Brother Rice gridiron gear and re-outfitting with Army green.

Baltrusaitis, the Warriors’ second-year starting center on the football field, committed to play in college at West Point this week, becoming the first member off the two-time defending Division 2 state champion to accept a scholarship to compete in the college ranks.

Brother Rice is currently undefeated at 6-0 and the No. 1 team in the state as it seeks a three-peat in Warriors’ head coach Al Fracassa’s final year on the sidelines. The Warriors are currently frontrunners to raise their first Catholic League crown since 2010, having already clinched a spot in the Prep Bowl at Ford Field in two weeks and beaten rivals Novi Detroit Catholic Central, Orchard Lake St. Mary's and Warren De La Salle.

Striving for an invitation to attend and play at Army his entire life, Baltrusaitis bypassed an offer from Air Force that he had received over the summer to pledge his allegiance to the Black Knights and fulfill his longtime dream.

His decision to go to an American service academy is also part of a trend in the area, with a number of recent local prep standouts from Metro Detroit going off to play football at Army, Navy or Air Force.

Through the first six weeks of the 2013 college football campaign, Army sits with a 2-4 record.

The Baltrusaitis commitment will most likely open up the floodgates on the Brother Rice gridiron recruiting landscape. More than a half-dozen of Baltrusaitis’ teammates are being sought-after by a slew of Division I and II college programs, some very much so.

This group of prospects includes the player he snaps the pigskin to, in junior field general Alex Malzone and the pair of running backs in seniors Brian Walker and Shon Powell that he and his line-mates are superbly blocking for.

Last season, Walker broke the Brother Rice school-record for most rushing touchdowns in a single-season with 21 trips into the end zone, a good chunk of those jaunts over the goal-line with him being escorted by Baltrusaitis or blocks he threw on his way to paydirt.