Preseason countdown: Freshman class, Glen Coates, Mike Johnson, Jalen Sharp

Jeff Monken says he never goes into a season counting on contributions from freshmen in order to win games.

Inevitably, some freshman will stand out and be able to contribute on special teams and possibly offense or defense, Monken said.

“There’s going to be some guys that are going to play,” said Monken, in an interview last week. “I don’t know that we will ever see here a season like we did in 2015 where we had 20 plus freshmen playing in every game. If we end up in a situation where we have 20 plus freshmen playing in every game, it’s probably not going to be a successful campaign for us. “It’s really hard for a freshman to play anywhere. I think it’s particularly hard for freshmen to play here. We win with those guys that develop in the program.”

Monken continued, “Look at our offensive line last year and Ahmad Bradshaw, (wide receivers Jeff) Ejekam and (Jermaine) Adams, all of these seniors guys even looking at the backfield with (Andy) Davidson and (Darnell) Woolfolk, two guys that have been in the program for a while and (Jordan) Asberry, (Calen) Holt.

“There’s a lot of guys that have played on offense. On defense, we have eight starters coming back, but guys like (Rhyan) England, (Alex) Aukerman and (John) Voit, it’s those guys that have developed that are our most productive players. Hopefully, we are going to have a team like that this year and won’t have to rely on a lot of those freshmen. With that said, there are some talented guys and I think there are some guys physically particularly the ones coming from the prep school that we know about and have develop. I’m sure we’ll see some of those guys playing.”

Monken, entering his fifth season at Army, didn’t mention any specific players in the 79-member freshman class.

Nine freshmen (four on offense, four on defense, one special teams) lettered during Army’s 10-win season last year. Wide receiver Cam Harrison started the first two games. Slotback Artice Hobbs started in the Armed Forces Bowl.

If there’s a position that may have an infusion of youth, it could be wide receiver. Harrison and junior Kjetil Cline, both second-team players last season, are the top returners. Mike Roberts and Jalen Moy are freshmen to watch.

Monken said junior Glen Coates has returned to wide receiver. Coates started the 2017 season at wide receiver and was moved to cornerback after the third game. He could also factor in the return game.

Junior offensive lineman Mike Johnson and senior cornerback Jalen Sharp will be ready to practice at full speed when Army opens the preseason on August 2, Monken said. Both players are returning from ACL injuries. Johnson was competing for a starting position in camp last summer when he was injured. Sharp started the first two games.  of 2017. He returned a blocked punt 75 yards for a touchdown in the 2017 opener against Fordham.

Monken confirmed junior linebacker Amadeo West will miss the 2018 season after suffering a setback while rehabbing from an ACL injury in the spring. West didn’t play in 2017.

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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