2017 Preseason Camp Prospectus: QB, slotback, linebacker breakdowns

There will be no battle to be starting quarterback when Army opens preseason camp Saturday.

Senior captain Ahmad Bradshaw is the unquestioned starter heading into Army’s opener against Fordham on Sept. 1 at Michie Stadium.

“He’s just grown so much as a leader,” Army coach Jeff Monken said. “His confidence is what it needs to be to be the starting quarterback.”

Starts by Army quarterback since 2009 (Trent Steelman’s freshman year): Steelman 46; Angel Santiago 22; Ahmad Bradshaw 19; A.J. Schurr 6; Chris Carter 3; Max Jenkins 2.

Junior Chris Carter and sophomore Kelvin Hopkins will compete to be Bradshaw’s backup. Junior Luke Langdon, who missed last season due to a knee injury, and a trio of freshmen Christian Anderson, Jordan Johnson and Cameron Thomas are the only quarterbacks in camp.

The departure of starter Tyler Campbell and Christian Drake after their sophomore year and the loss of sophomore Malik McGue to academics has left Army thin at slotback. Senior John Trainor, junior Jordan Asberry and sophomore Kell Walker return and have all started during their careers. Behind the top three slotbacks is a bunch of untested talents. Sophomores Donovan Franklin and Malik Hancock and freshmen Fred Cooper and Artice Hobbs are some names to keep an eye on.

“There’s some guys (Franklin and Hancock) that are there that took some snaps in the spring,” Monken said. “I don’t know if they are going to play or not. We’ll have to find out. I think there’s some guys coming from our prep school particularly that may be able to help us. I’m excited to see what we got when those guys show up. Hobbs has a chance to be one of those guys. I’m really looking forward to watching Fred Cooper and see what he can do there. He’s a bigger more physical guy…There’s a long line there. That’s a good thing. We have some guys to look at and hopefully we have some players.”

Monken said junior Calen Holt, who moved from linebacker to offense in the spring, is staying at fullback but he has some flexibility to play slotback if needed.

For an update on cornerback Marcus Hyatt and a breakdown of the position heading into camp, click here.

Monken said switching James Nachitgal from outside linebacker to inside linebacker in the spring was a move to get him on the field. Nachtigal, who played in third-down situations as a sophomore, was behind returning starters Alex Aukerman and Kenneth Brinson on the outside.

“Those two (Aukerman and Brinson) are as good of football players as we got,” Monken said. “I think this is a good place for him (Nachtigal) and I’m excited to see him grow and develop in that position.”

Aukerman said Nachtigal, “is one of the most talented players on the team, athletically and in the weight room.” Nachtigal will team with senior Scott Washle at the top inside linebackers heading into camp. They replace three-year starters and 2016 captains Andrew King and Jeremy Timpf.

Army is also high on sophomore inside linebackers Cole Christiansen and Ryan Parker. Christiansen was used in some defensive schemes late last season. Parker played special teams and saw limited snaps on defense.

“Though we don’t have a lot of experience (at inside linebacker), we have some guys that I think are talented enough to do it and there’s some depth,” Monken said.

Freshmen have not been added to Army’s roster as of Friday night.

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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    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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