This story originally appeared in Mile High Sports Magazine. Read the full digital edition.

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“I’m looking for strong academics, but football, too. If I’m going to be spending four years learning a lot, I want to have fun on the field.”

Based on the schools that are showing interest in Regis Jesuit senior linebacker Alec Hamilton, the former of those two prerequisites will be no problem. The 17-year-old has already received a scholarship offer from the Air Force Academy and is being recruited by the other service academies as well as several Ivy League schools. CSU is also in the mix for the honors student.

As for the football side of things, Hamilton should be no stranger to tough competition no matter where he ends up. In April, Hamilton participated in the prestigious Blue-Gray Football All-American Combine and is on the Blue-Gray All-American Bowl Watch List for 2016.

Now in his third year on varsity, the Raiders have never shied away from playing the best competition possible. In each of the past two years Regis has opened with non-conference games against Cherry Creek and Mullen, powerhouse programs in the 5A classification.

“We just come out of the gate with our toughest opponents, we knock ‘em out and we just build from there into the playoffs,” he says. “Instead of starting off easy, we like to get out of the gates running. We definitely like to challenge ourselves.

“We don’t have the six D-I kids that the Mullens, the Valors, that they all have, but I think across the board we’re one of the more talented teams. Our team this year is different from any other teams I’ve been on; we actually believe we can go a long way – maybe even win a state title.”

Regis came close in 2015, falling in the 5A state quarterfinals to Columbine. However, Hamilton does have one state title he can boast.

In the eighth grade he represented his school in the “math” discipline of the academic decathlon. His team took home the top prize in Colorado and competed in the national tournament in California. What form of competition does Hamilton consider tougher?

“Both are tough in different ways. It’s all about the preparation beforehand. Competing in math is definitely more mental, but out on the football field it’s very mental, too.”

With his senior season now underway and elite college football and academics on the horizon, Alec Hamilton is more than prepared for what’s next.