The most improved players of the spring were…

Chandler Ramirez began his college football as an outside linebacker and a special teams player as a freshman.

Coaches asked Ramirez to gain weight in a move to defensive end his sophomore season. The move didn’t work out as Ramirez couldn’t gain the weight required, prompting a return to outside linebacker this spring.

Maybe that was the right position and role for Ramirez after all. When asked which players improved the most this spring, Army coach Jeff Monken brought Ramirez’s name up.

“Probably the most pleasant surprise over (on defense) is Chandler Ramirez,” Monken said. “He didn’t play very much as a freshman. We tried to bulk him up last year and he couldn’t carry the weight that it took to play that position. He slimmed back down and had a really good spring.”

Ramirez will add depth behind senior Alex Aukerman this fall. Who else impressed Monken this spring? Here’s some players, who should the most improvement, according to Monken:

Fullbacks Calen Holt and freshman Connor Slomka: Holt, a sophomore, and Slomka, a freshman, took advantage of addition reps with Andy Davidson and Darnell Woolfolk, the team’s top two fullbacks, banged up and sophomore Cole Macek not participating in spring practice due to academics. Holt’s move from linebacker was a success. Monken said, “They (Holt and Slomka) were just a 1-2 punch…It was fun to watch those guys play. They were playing hard and really competing.”

Freshman defensive end Amadeo West: West has worked himself into the mix as a potential starter by getting bigger and stronger in the offseason. Monken said, “He went from being a freshman and he has really physically developed over the last three months coming out of the season and I’m really impressed with him.”

Freshman linebacker Cole Christiansen: Christiansen’s role may expand from his plebe year where he played in passing packages later in the season. Christiansen shined all spring and had two sacks in the Black & Gold game.

Sophomore right tackle Austin Schuffert: Schuffert solidified his place on the depth as Brett Toth’s primary backup. Monken said Schuffert, “really, really improved over the course of the spring. He’s not a starter yet and he’s not to the point where he can beat out those guys with all that experience but he’s had a nice spring.”

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Started a Facebook page, solely for Army coverage. Here’s the link.


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    Sal Interdonato

    Award-winning writer Sal Interdonato has been on the Army football beat since 2007. He'll take you inside the huddle and into the lives of the Black Knights. Read Full
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