The truth is, even though Andy Ponseigo set a Navy record with 152 tackles last season, some of the home folks in Littleton, Colo., aren't sure what he is doing with his time.
"Some kids think you go out on a ship every other day," said Ponseigo, a junior linebacker. "They don't know this is a college. A lot of folks don't know where this place is, either. I'll talk to a girl, and I'll say I go to school in Annapolis. She'll say, 'Indiana?' "
But if the word has not gotten back to everyone at home, no one in Annapolis, Md., has to ask who Ponseigo is. He received head-turning mention in several publications in the offseason, no doubt because of games like last year's 21-16 loss at Michigan, in which he had 13 tackles. Still, some think football isn't his best sport.
This past season, Ponseigo hit .363 with 21 RBI as designated hitter on Navy's baseball team. Navy's former football coach, George Welsh, had discouraged his players from skippingspring practice. But Ponseigo missed baseball -- he had been all-state in Colorado -- and, after meeting with Joe Duff, the baseball coach, and Gary Tranquill, Welsh's successor, he decided to play both sports.
"He's a terrific talent -- professional talent," said Duff, the baseball coach at Navy for 26 years. "He's got a great attitude and ability to handle adversity. A very good hitter. He has it all."
Duff added the kicker: "In my time at Navy I've seen three outstanding athletes. There were Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach (both Heisman Trophy winners in football who also played baseball). Andy is the third."
Playing one sport at major-college level is difficult enough, particularly at a place where academics are stressed. Playing two sports requires a knack -- mostly for stealing sleep.
"Especially during football season," Ponseigo said, rolling his eyes. "I'm so tired after practice, it's all I can do to stay awake. Hobbies? Spare time? I'm not sure what they are."
Playing baseball had its price: He didn't get home for seven months and when he did this summer, "three weeks went like a couple of days," he said. "But it still was fun. We got to the Eastern Regionals, which was really nice."
So nice, in fact, that Ponseigo was interviewed at the Eastern Regional in Orono, Maine, by a reporter for the Denver Post. Or so he thought.
Actually, Ponseigo, an easygoing sort, was being set up by a teammate. "I thought it was just one of those things where they interview a local boy," Ponseigo said, grinning. "The voice on the phone sounded familiar, but he was asking all the right reporter's questions and all.
"About halfway through, I asked, 'Are you sure you're a reporter?' He said yes, but he sounded funny. Then he started asking stuff like, 'What's your major? Are you sure?' Finally, he started laughing and I realized I had been set up."
But even if the reporter was bogus, Andy Ponseigo is for real. Ask anyone in Annapolis.