Recruiting: LB Jesse Walsh joins 2018 class

Jesse Walsh rooted against Army growing up.

Walsh’s older brother, Matt, was a UConn linebacker and 2016 captain. Jesse was in stands at Yankee Stadium for UConn’s clash with Army in November 2014 and wasn’t cheering when Black Knights cornerback Chris Carnegie returned an interception 99 yards to seal the win.

Now, nearly three years later, Walsh, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker at Avon Old Farms (Conn.), committed to play for Army Sunday after a visit to West Point Friday as part of “Knight on the Hudson.”

“I just fell in love with the school,” Walsh said Sunday night. “I visited all of the other schools that recruited me – Duke, BC (Boston College), UConn, Harvard, Yale. But, Army stuck out to me and I was like, “I need to go here. There’s no point in extending my recruiting process.”

Walsh added, “When I visited Friday, a good majority of the kids (recruits),  I could tell their breath was just taken away with the incredible campus, the staff, the facilities.”

Walsh drew interest from Atlantic Coast Conference and Ivy League schools after his first season at linebacker his junior year. He was Avon Old Farms’ starting quarterback as a sophomore and had always played the position growing up.

“My family was mostly defensive players and I am at heart,” Walsh said. “The team needed me there (on defense). I went into camp at 225 and they (the coaches) said, ‘you can play quarterback but we want you to play some outside linebacker as well.’ It turns out I’m a good linebacker too. I stuck with that and just ran with it and it worked out pretty well.”

Army started recruiting Walsh in May. He received his offer one day after assistant coach John Loose visited him to check on his measurables. Walsh said he will be direct admit to West Point in 2018.

“Army was the second school to take a chance on me and offer me,” Walsh said. “Cornell was the first…Before this, I was a little hesitant. Army is obviously a very good school but the five-year commitment was a little troubling, I guess you can say. But, my parents convinced me to have some interest in Army and to go to “Knight on the Hudson.”

“They are on the rise. Coach (Jeff) Monken has been turning the program around. If you just look at their record, they are turning the program around pretty fast. I’m definitely optimistic (about the future).”

Army also received commitments Sunday from two Texas recruits – Centennial tackle Kyle Perry and kicker Mattao Cordray.

2018 commits (31)

LB Hayden Bollinger, 6-1, 209, Lafayette HS, Wildwood, Mo.: Other offers – Syracuse. (COMMITTED, July 21)
DE Hunter Brabham, 6-3, 235, Hughes Springs (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, July 16)
DT Ryan Bryce, 6-5, 285, St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa.: Other offers – Rutgers, Virginia, Temple, Central Florida, Buffalo, UMass. (COMMITTED, May 30)
DE-TE Nolan Cockrill, 6-3, 230, Westfield HS, Chantilly, Va.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, June 4)
K Matteo Cordray, 5-10, 155, Highland Park HS, Dallas, Texas.: (COMMITTED, July 23)
LB Morgan Ernst, 6-foot, 195, Webb HS, Knoxville, Tenn.: (COMMITTED, May 14)
DE Damir Faison, 6-foot-2, 240, Vance HS, Charlotte, N.C.: Other offers – Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, East Carolina, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Georgia State. Former Appalachian State commit. (COMMITTED, July 7)
CB Khalil Fleming, 5-11, 163, Northshore HS, Slidell, La.: Other offers – Air Force, May 22. (COMMITTED, April 19)
DE Chris Frey, 6-5, 225, Temescal Canyon HS, Lake Elsinore, Calif.: First offer – Army (COMMITTED, July 21)
LS Cale Garrison, 5-10, 215, The Woodlands (Texas) HS: Offered after attending Army prospect camp on June 4. (COMMITTED, June 5)
WR-CB Will Hankins, 6-2, 175, Munford (Tenn.) HS: (COMMITTED, June 26)
QB-RB Tionne Harris, 5-9, 178, Vianney HS, St. Louis, Mo.: Led Vianney to its first state title, passing for 2,549 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushing for 1,502 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2016. (COMMITTED, July 4)
QB Walter Harris, 6-1, 190, Northshore HS, Slidell, La.: Other offers – Navy, May 8. (COMMITTED, April 22)
LB Tim Johns, 6-3, 230, Greenwood (Ind.) HS: First FBS offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 12)
DL Tim Kater, 6-3, 265, Steelton-Highspire HS, Steelton, Pa.: First commit of 2018 class. Brother of former Army tight end Kelvin White. Other offers – Delaware, Delaware State, Howard, Morgan State. (COMMITTED, April 12)
OL Drew Kraatz, 6-6, 240, Standish-Sterling HS, Standish, Mich.: (COMMITTED, April 27)
LS Brendan Knoespel, 6-foot, 210, Antonian Prep HS, San Antonio, Texas: Other offer – Air Force. (COMMITTED, May 25)
OL Nick Kotok, 6-4, 285, Moon Area HS, Moon, Pa.: (COMMITTED, June 28)
K Miller Kronk, 6-2, 195, London (Ohio) HS: First offer – Army. Army unofficial visit: May 24. (COMMITTED, June 1)
DE Ryan Matz, 6-3, 235, East Lincoln HS, Denver, N.C.: (COMMITTED, June 22)
LB Brandon Mays, 6-foot, 210, Viera (Fla.) HS: Other offers – Buffalo. (COMMITTED, July 21)
FB Elliott McElwain, 6-foot, 215, Hewitt-Trussville HS, Trussville, Ala. (COMMITTED, July 4)
DB Braheam Murphy, 5-10, 160, Harding University HS, Charlotte, N.C.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 4)
QB-WR A.J. Payne, 6-1, 193, Americus-Sumter HS, Americus, Ga. (COMMITTED, July 4)
OL Kyle Perry, 6-2, 305, Centennial HS, Burleson, Texas: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 23)
DL Hunter Richard, 6-3, 270, Edmond (Okla.) North HS: Other offers – Princeton, Abilene Christian. (COMMITTED, June 21)
CB Torey Richardson, 6-foot, 180, Tomball Memorial (Texas) HS: First offer – Army (COMMITTED, July 21)
OL Harmon Saint Germain, 6-foot-5, 280, Westfield HS, Chantilly, Va.: (COMMITTED, July 6)
LB Jesse Walsh, 6-3, 230, Avon Old Farms, Avon, Conn.: (COMMITTED, July 22)
RB-WR Travis West, 6-foot, 180, Woodrow Wilson HS, Dallas, Texas: (COMMITTED, July 22)
DE Noah Yates, 6-foot-5, 215, Carbondale Area HS, Carbondale, Pa. (COMMITTED, July 6)

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and Sound Cloud @salinterdonato. For Army coverage on Facebook, here’s the link.

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    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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