One of our nation's finest just got a well-deserved second shot at a football dream.

Justin Aysse starred as a tight end and defensive lineman at Downey High in Southern California, and got looks from then-Pac-10 schools such as Oregon, USC and Washington. But he figured his dreams of playing big time college football were over because of poor grades. He dropped out of school and decided to join the military.

"At that time in my life," Aysse told, "I didn't think I was ever going to play football again. And I was heartbroken."

But following four years proudly serving his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan, Aysse enrolled at Long Beach City College and began playing on the offensive line. The now 6'5", 285-pound lineman drew interest from schools such as Texas State, Hampton, Utah and Eastern Kentucky.

Right before he was about to choose which program he would join, San Diego State "came out of the blue" with interest in the junior college transfer.

"It's a pretty cool school and you can't beat the year-round weather," Aysse told "I spent a little time in San Diego when I was training to become a Marine, so I'm familiar with the weather. It's also a veteran-friendly school and I think I can draw a lot of Marine Corps and naval support as far as the fan base goes just from being out there and being a former Marine myself."

Aztecs coach Rocky Long gave Aysee, 25, a full-ride scholarship, and the vet planned to sign with SDSU bright and early Wednesday morning. He's expected to have a chance at playing right away because of a lack of depth on the San Diego State offensive line.

"I'm being blessed to get a second opportunity, go to a D-I school and continue to play ball," he told "I'm going to play until the wheels fall off."

Whatever happens on the field, after fighting in two wars, we know Aysee is confident his Marine training will pay off.

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"I've been to Iraq and I've been to Afghanistan on both combat deployments," Aysse said. "Unless I'm going up against Dwight Freeney or Michael Strahan, I'm not really worried about who I'm going up against. Everybody can be beat."

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