Post-spring depth chart: defense

Just about to provide my take when I received the official post-spring depth chart.

Quick/DE: Zach Watts, Jr. or Jarrett Mackey, Jr.; Colin Linkul, Fr.
Noteable: Mackey, the team’s legacy captain, sat out the spring rehabbing from a torn ACL. Doesn’t look like Watts will move back to linebacker, which he played as a sophomore, in the fall. Linkul is a pass-rushing specialist. Could see Mackey moving inside on passing downs.

LT: Bobby Kough, Soph.; Shane Finnane, Soph.
Noteable: Kough impressed coaches in his first football since he practiced in the 2010 season. He’s a slightly smaller version of former nose guard Mike Gann. Incoming Army freshmen from Army Prep could fill up the depth behind Kough and Finnane

RT: Richard Glover, Soph.; Joe Drummond, Fr. or Mike Ugenyi, Fr.
Noteable: Glover may have had the best camp of any defensive lineman. He’s slimmed down from 270 pounds and will team with Kough to form an athletic tandem in the middle. Drummond missed the spring recovering from shoulder surgery but coaches love his upside. Ugenyi’s brother, Victor, was a three-year starting defensive lineman at West Point. If Ugenyi continues to progress, he’ll be valuable player for Army in 2012.

Bandit: Nate Combs, Jr.; Corey Watts, Soph. or Jacob Drozd, Fr.
Noteable: Combs missed spring practice due to injury. Watts played defensive end last season. Drozd was moved from defensive tackle and will find a way on the field in the fall. Coach Ellerson said, “He’s an extraordinary athlete. We don’t have a better athlete on the football team at any position. He’s something else. He’s really comfortable in that part of the game. That mix in between tackles is where he’s just at home. He is a little bit light (220 pounds) for it and that’s where the bandit position allows for that.” Sophomore Colby Miller and freshmen Julian Holloway and Jim Forgrave provide more depth here.

WHIP LB: Holt Zalneraitis, Soph.; Kyle Maxwell, Soph. or Derek Sanchez, Fr.
Noteable: Ellerson thinks Zalneraitis will excel playing in a more natural position this fall. Zalneraitis started at defensive tackle last season. This could be flex position where players could line up in a three-point stance or standing. Sanchez is a player to watch. He has a good motor and is athletic.

MLB: Geoff Bacon, Fr. or Zach Williams, Soph.; C.J. Shelley, Jr. or Mike Cermak, Fr.
Noteable: Bacon finished the 2011 season as a starter and may be Army’s quickest defender. Williams and Shelley are all-out effort guys, who will push Bacon. Cermak saw some action in 2011 and is a  solid tackler.

Rover: Justin Trimble, Soph.; Thomas Holloway, Soph.
Noteable: If Trimble can stay healthy, he can be a big-time playmaker for the defense. Holloway, a starter at free safety last season, will challenge Trimble for playing time in the fall.

Boundary Corner: Waverly Washington, Jr. or Tyler Dickson, Soph.; Justin Allen, Jr.
Noteable: A position that needs to improve if Army is going to take the next step in 2012. It could be Dickson’s job to lose. He started five games at free safety.

Field Coner: Josh Jackson, Jr.; Marcus Avery, Fr. or Lamar Johnson-Harris, Fr.
Noteable: Jackson is a two-year starter and one of the defense’s leaders. Avery, who was banged up in the spring, is Army’s tallest cornerback (6-foot-1) and a good athlete. Johnson-Harris started nine games in 2011.

SS: Hayden Pierce, Fr.; Lyle Beloney, Soph.
Noteable: Army strength and conditioning coaches are trying to put more size on Pierce’s 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. Pierce is solid in coverage and could develop into a strong hitter.

FS: Ty Shrader, Jr.; Kyler Martin, Jr.
Noteable: Shrader saw limited action on defense in 2011. Coaches love Shrader’s moxy. Co-defensive coordinator Payam Saadat says Shrader carries himself like a, “four-year starter.” Martin started the last five games of 2011 and played well. He’s versatile enough to play linebacker.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter @salinterdonato


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