Maples could get NFL call this weekend

Former Army running back Raymond Maples is receiving interest from the Packers, Seahawks and Raiders prior to tonight’s NFL draft, according to his agent Scott Bergman.

Bergman said he expects Maples to receive calls this weekend, offering the two-time 1,000-yard Army rusher an opportunity to attend rookie mini-camp.

As of 7 a.m. Thursday morning, Maples was granted permission by his base commander at Ft. Benning for leave to participate in a mini-camp, Bergman said.

Maples, who turns 24 on May 18, graduated from West Point in December after returning for fifth season at Army. Past players have been required to serve two years of active duty before applying for a release to pursue the NFL.

“This is happening very fast,” Bergman said. “There was a lot of misconceptions going on with the NFL and him. He’s definitely somebody the NFL teams have been seeking out. However, they believed that he had his 2-year commitment so he’s not going to be interested.

“He never really spoke out on his own to let them know, ‘Hey I can try to get an exception. If you are interested in me, I will try to get an exception.’ That never translated out there and they dropped him as a result. I corrected that 48 hours ago. I got the teams putting him back on the boards as available.”

Former Army quarterback Trent Steelman, a four-year starter (2009-2012), was granted an early release from active duty as maintenance platoon leader at Hunter Airfield in Savannah, Ga., before Christmas.

The next step for Maples would be asking for an early release if he is offered a contract by an NFL team.

“They (The Army and Ft. Benning) are going to give him (Maples) a limited exception right now,” Bergman said. “That’s not giving him permission to play in NFL. They are giving him permission to leave the base and go to mini-camp and see how that rolls. If they offer him a contract, I will have him sign it and it’s going to be contingent on him getting a release from his duties to play in the NFL. The only concern is the Middle East is heating back up.”

Bergman said he’s spoken with a few contacts at Ft. Benning and, “they can see (the Army) giving him an exception because he would be good in marketing for the Army.”

Maples, a slotback, was limited to 44 carries (270 yards and three touchdowns) in 2014 as Army went to a fullback-heavy triple-option offense under first-year coach Jeff Monken. He carried the ball four times for 13 yards as a reserve fullback in his final game as a Black Knight against Navy in December.

During his 1,000-yard seasons in 2011 (1,066) and 2012 (1,215), Maples was an effective runner inside the tackles. He played in just three games in 2013 due to a leg injury suffered against Stanford in a September game.

The Packers have expressed the most interest in Maples. Bergman said he was contacted by Packers Thursday morning.

“The Packers (scout) admitted that he’s been watching him his whole career and even used the word ‘obsessed’ with him,” Bergman said. “(The scout said), ‘We can utilize him on our format up here. You know that we are cold weather.’”

Bergman said if NFL teams knew about Maples’ availability a few months ago, he may have been selected with the draft’s seven rounds.

NFL scouts attended Army practices throughout Maples’ career to watch the running back.

“Anything can happen. I don’t know what will happen. I could be completely off base here and I’m never comfortable telling a client that they are going to get the call that they are going to get drafted…With that said, I’m finding these teams are interested and the Packers are a little extra aggressive than what I normally see…

“We at least have a foot in the door to allow him to get out, go to a team and fight for a position and then the base commander was like, ‘We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.’ At least, it’s good news that we can get him out and do this. Now, he’ll have a shot and I’m going to continue speaking with the military and try to keep him going forward with this.”

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

 

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Repost blog: Jay Bateman on Josh Jenkins, defense

Caught up with Army defensive coordinator Jay Bateman before the end of spring practice. Here are his thoughts on sophomore cornerback Josh Jenkins and some other key players for the 2015 season:

How good can Army sophomore cornerback Josh Jenkins be?

Defensive coordinator Jay Bateman thinks if Jenkins keeps progressing he can be an all-American cornerback before he graduates from West Point. Jenkins led Army with four interceptions, two blocked kick (both returned for touchdowns) and tied for second with 63 tackles in 2014.

“That’s no doubt in my mind,” said Bateman after a scrimmage this spring. “He’s got a great knack for making plays. When it usually gets the loudest and it’s time to go do it, he does it.

“He needs to work on the difference of being a really, really good player to being a great player and that’s coming to work every day and the little things. He can get away with some bad habits that other kids can’t. But, if he improves on them, gosh, he’ll be a great player.”

Bateman continues to be impressed with sophomore outside linebacker Seth Combs this spring. Combs seems to be always around the ball.

“Man, he’s done a great job,” Bateman said. “We moved him about halfway in (last) season when (Derek) Sanchez got hurt. He was kind of a fish out of water, trying to figure it out. It’s a different position going from the inside to the outside. He just worked his tail off. Coach (Jovan) Dewitt has done a great job with him.

“Football comes easy to him. He’s a smart kid, football-wise. He’s watched a bunch of film. We’ve had the meetings with him. He’s a rugged kid. He’s tough. Certainly, there will be some situations where we want a bigger guy there. But, he’s about 225 right now. He’s strong and he plays heavier than that. Certainly there will be some guys where we need to get a bigger guy in there but I anticipate him playing a lot.”

Nose tackles T.J Atimalala and Andrew McLean have pushed each other all spring. Atimalala, a junior, and McLean, a freshman, give Army and Bateman a couple option inside and could split time this fall.

“I’ve been really happy with T.J. Atimalala,” Bateman said. “We had high hopes for him. He played a decent amount last year. (Richard) Glover was such a good player for us that he probably played more than he should’ve.

“I think Andrew McLean has really made some strides these last couple of weeks. Andrew is a big rugged guy that can hold the point a little better and T.J. is a little bit more of fireplug, a mover and a slanter. It’s like having a lefty, one-out guy in the bullpen and having guys that can do different things and that’s always good.”

Freshman John Voit also impressed Bateman. Voit made the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end last season and has worked to be Army’s best player at the position.

“He’s everything you want in a player,” Bateman said.

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

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Recruiting: Top North Carolina QB offered

Army has recruited the Charlotte, N.C. area well since Jeff Monken took over as coach in December 2013.

Independence senior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins is a member of Army’s 2015 recruiting class.

The Black Knights hope to add another Charlotte quarterback in 2016.

Army offered Mallard Creek junior James Smith Tuesday.

Smith, who is 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, led Mallard Creek to a 15-1 record and a 2014 state 4AA title. He was named the Charlotte Observer’s offensive player of the year.  Smith set school records for total yards (4,707), passing yards (3,357), passing touchdowns (35) and total touchdowns (60). He rushed for 1,350 yards and 25 scores, including three in the state title game against Wake Forest.

Surprisingly, Army is Smith’s first offer.

Army is nearing 200 offers to the class of 2016.

By my count, Army has offered 190 high school juniors.

Army has offered players from 26 of the 50 states, by my count. Texas has the most offers with 28, followed by Florida (22), New Jersey (20) and Georgia (19).

The Black Knights are still waiting for their first commit.

Here’s a list of the players they have offered:

2016 Army offers
T Tarik Adams, 6-4, 285, Lowndes HS, Valdosta, Ga.
RB Jaret Anderson, 5-10, 185, Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic HS
CB Austin Andrews, 6-1, 180, St. Francis de Sales HS, Columbus, Ohio: Andrews has received offers from Ball State, Boston College, Iowa, Purdue, Rutgers and Wisconsin, among others.
CB Manny Appiah, 6-1, 180, Bergen Catholic HS, Oradell, N.J.
WR Kirk Augustus, 5-9, 165, Ardrey Kell HS, Charlotte, N.C.
K Alex Barbir, 5-9, 185, South Forsyth HS, Cumming, Ga.
LB Michael Badejo, 6-1, 203, Mansfield Timberview HS, Arlington, Texas: Navy, Air Force, Boise State and Washington have offered Badejo. Army has also offered Badejo’s teammate, quarterback Devin Williams.
WR Jaquarius Bargnare, 5-9, 189, Dr. Phillips HS, Orlando, Fla.
OL Harrison Barton, 6-3, 285, Houston (Texas) Christian HS
C Chris Beech, 6-2, 288, Archbishop Alter HS, Kettering, Ohio
DE Drew Beesley, 6-3, 220, De La Salle HS, Warren, Mich.: Ball State has also offered Beesley.
C-G Sean Behrens, 6-3, 285, Newsome HS, Lithia, Fla.: Attending Army Junior Day.
QB Joey Benden, 5-10, 180, Massaponax HS, Spotsylvania, Va.
RB Rakeem Boyd, 5-11, 200, Stratford HS, Houston, Texas: ESPN ranks Boyd as the 27th-best RB in the 2016 class.
LB Todd Bradley, 6-foot, 210, Valdosta (Ga.) HS: Navy offered Bradley before Army.
T Parker Braun, 6-4, 275, Osceola HS, Kissimmee, Fla: Braun’s father, Mike, played football for Army from 1986-88. Ohio State, Stanford and Duke are among others, who have offered Braun.
QB Anthony Brown, 6-2, 190, St. John Vianney HS, Holmdel, N.J.: Brown has offers from Air Force, Boston College, Northwestern, Temple, Wake Forest and UConn among others.
RB-S Brittain Brown, 6-2, 190, Cherokee HS, Canton, Ga.
RB Jesse Brown, 5-11, 185, Brookwood HS, Snellville, Ga.: Recently received an offer from Boston College. Offered by Kansas State, Navy and Air Force among others.
WR Rico Bussey, 6-1, 170, Eisenhower HS, Lawton, Okla.
S Anthony Butler, 6-2, 190, Vance HS, Charlotte, N.C.
CB Camryn Bynum, 5-11, 164, Centennial HS, Corona, Calif.: Bynum recently received his eighth offer from Washington State. Navy offered Bynum soon after Army. Also has offers from Boise State and San Diego State.
DE Charles Callender, 6-2, 220, Gulliver Prep, Miami, Fla.: ESPN ranked Callender the 62nd best DE in 2016 class.
WR Antoine Cannady, 6-3, 225, Dawson HS, Pearland, Texas
OL Eric Cal, 6-3, 286, Providence Day HS, Charlotte, N.C.
LB Eron Carter, 6-2, 215, Palatka (Fla.) HS: Carter has Army at the top of his recruiting list. UMass and Troy have also offered.
S Adrian Clark, 6-2, 215, Woodrow Wilson HS, Camden, N.J.
WR Kjetil Cline, 6-foot, 185, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
DE-TE Dante Cleveland, 6-3, 240, Hoffman Estates (Ill.) HS
WR Gene Coleman, 6-foot, 178, Bergen Catholic (N.J.) HS, Oradell, N.J.
CB Miles Corpening, 5-11, 180, Vance HS, Charlotte, N.C.
DL Da’shon Copes, 6-1, 267, Toms River (N.J.) North HS
RB Jeremiah Credit, 5-7, 165, Brazosport HS, Freeport, Texas
CB Ty Daniels, 6-foot, 177, Foster HS, Richmond, Texas: Army was Daniel’s first offer.
LB Lorenzo Dantzler, 6-2, 230, Starkville (Miss.) HS: (COMMITTED to Louisiana Tech)
DL Jonathan Decker, 6-5, 250, Acola (Tenn.) HS
K J.D. Dellinger, 6-2, 170, Charlotte (N.C.) Country HS
LB Joel Dublanko, 6-3, 227, Aberdeen (Wash.) HS: Dublanko, a member of Team USA’s U-18 team, has been offered by Washington State among others. ESPN ranks Dublanko the 27th-best OLB in the 2016 class.
CB Coney Durr, 5-10, 171, Dutchtown HS, Geismar, La.: Kansas State is among the other schools, which has offered Durr.
CB Joshua Drayden, 5-11, 175, Bishop Dunne HS, Dallas, Texas: ESPN ranks Drayden the 38th best CB in the 2016 class.
DL Michael Dwumfour, 6-3, 265, DePaul Catholic HS, Wayne, N.J.: Also has offers from Wake Forest and Temple.
CB D’Angelo Ellis, 6-foot, 160, Cypress Ridge HS, Houston, Texas: Ellis has also received an offer from Rice.
DE Will Evans, 6-2, 260, Aquinas HS, Augusta, Ga.: Evans also has offer from Air Force
RB Tyus Flakes, 5-10, 195, Auburn (Ala.) HS: Marshall recently offered Flakes.
DE Andrew Fitzgerald, 6-5, 245, Marcus HS, Flower Mound, Texas: Navy, Air Force, Boise State, Caifornia, Colorado State, Kansas State, North Carolina and Vanderbilt has also offered Fitzgerald.
OL Will Fries, 6-6, 265, Cranford (N.J.) HS
RB Jake Funk, 5-11, 205, Damascus (Md.) HS
CB-S Bricen Garner, 6-3, 175, Central Catholic HS, Pittsburgh, Pa.” Also offered by Navy, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Temple, Toledo, UMass and Fordham.
DE Demerick Gary, 6-3, 245, Kimball HS, Dallas, Texas: Recently offered by Air Force.
DE Michael Geraghty, 6-3, 232, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas, Nev.
DE Jordan Giberti, 6-3, 225, Gainesville (Fla.) HS
LB Ryan Gilmartin, 6-1, 230, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian HS
LB Roury Glanton, 6-foot, 230, Carrollton (Ga.) HS
OL-DL Joe Goff, 6-5, 265, Episcopal HS, Alexandria, Va.: Navy offered Goff after Army.
S Xavier Goodall, 5-11, 185, Henrico HS, Richmond, Va.
WR-CB Palmer Graham, 5-9, 165, Conant HS, Hoffman Estates, Ill.
WR E.J. Gray, 6-2, 190, St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, N.J.
RB Russell Halimon, 5-9, 182, Allatoona HS, Acworth, Ga.: (COMMITTED to Arizona)
WR Tanner Hall, 6-2, 185, Lambert HS,  Suwanee, Ga.: Army was the first to offer Hall. Also has offers from Navy and Air Force.
WR-CB Damar Hamlin, 6-1, 185, Central Catholic HS, Pittsburgh, Pa.: Hamlin recently received his 34th offer from Cincinnati. Auburn, Clemson, Indiana, Miami (Fla.), Navy, Stanford, Tennesseem UCLA, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest, among others, that have also offered Hamlin.
QB Donald Hammond, 6-1, 205 Eagle’s Landing Christian HS, McDonough, Ga.
RB Darrian Hammonds, 6-foot, 220, Seguin HS, Arlington, Texas: Air Force, Iowa and Kansas have offered Hammonds.
DE Matt Hampson, 6-4, 235, Pine-Richland HS, Gibsonia, Pa.: Bowling Green has also offered Hampson.
LB Bryce Handy, 6-1, 213, Columbus HS, Miami, Fla.
LB Jake Hansen, 6-1, 220, East Lake HS, Tarpon Springs, Fla.
QB Felix Harper, 6-foot, 170, Creekside HS, Fairburn, Ga.
WR Jared Harrell, 6-2, 190, St. John Bosco HS, Bellflower, Calif.
RB Romello Harris, 5-10, 180, Tulare (Calif.) Union HS:
DL  Chase Hatada, 6-3, 255, Rocklin (Calif.) HS: Fresno State and San Diego State are among other schools, which have offered Hatada.
CB Ojahi Hawkins, 6-2, 169, Winter Haven (Fla.) HS: Recently received an offer from Utah.
CB Joe Joe Headen, 6-1, 175, Bishop McDevitt HS, Harrisburg, Pa.
RB Artiss Henderson, 5-10, 200, MacArthur HS, Irving, Texas
QB-S Isaiah Hill, 6-1, 190, Florida HS, Tallahassee, Fla.
CB Tyrone Hill, 6-2, 198, Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J.: Navy offered Hill last week.
RB Artice Hobbs, 5-10, 175, Newton HS, Covington, Ga.: Hobbs’ Hudl profile says he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds.
DL Kellton Hollins, 6-3, 285, Zachary (La.) HS
RB-S Khaleke Hudson, 6-foot, 205, McKeesport (Pa.) HS: Also offered by Navy
DE Dallas Jeanty, 6-1, 220, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) HS: Recently offered by Navy
WR-CB Nate Johnson, 6-foot, 180, Independence HS, Thompsons Station, Tenn.
OL-DL Braylon Jones, 6-4, 290, John Tyler HS, Tyler, Texas
QB Deshaunte Jones, 5-10, 170, Colerain HS, Cincinnati, Ohio: Cincinnati and Toledo have also offered Jones.
DL Noah Jones, 6-5, 255, Southmoore HS, Moore, Okla.: Navy, Kansas State and Toledo have offered Jones.
OL Spencer Kanz, 6-6, 280, Luxemburg-Casco HS, Luxemburg, Wisc.: Kanz’s first offer came from Illinois, has offered been offered by MAC schools Bowling Green, Ohio, Buffalo, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Toledo
DT Josh Keeler, 6-2, 295, Bishop Moore HS, Orlando, Fla.: Air Force, Boise State, Georgia Southern, Syracuse, Purdue, Central Florida, Vanderbilt and Buffalo are among the schools to offer Keeler.
DE-LB Eric Kendzoir, 6-3, 230, La Porte (Texas) HS: Attending Army Junior Day
SB-CB Chris Kershner, 5-9, 164, Dardanelle (Ark.) HS: Kershner’s first offer came from Navy.
S Jack King, 6-2, 206, Providence HS, Charlotte, N.C.
WR Tyler Kirtz, 6-2, 190, Brownsburg (Ind.) HS: Kirtz has also received offers from Air Force, Ball State and Bowling Green.
K Jake Koehnke, 6-foot, 175, La Costa Canyon HS, Carlsbad, Calif.: Army was the first offer for Koehnke.
RB Khalil Lacy, 5-11, 158, Richardson (Texas) HS: Army was the first to offer Lacy, who was a second-team, all-district receiver in 2014.
RB Alan Lamar, 5-9, 185, DeSoto Central HS, Southaven, Miss.
T-DT Brett Leake, 6-4, 260, Eastern View HS, Culpeper, Va.: Buffalo and Liberty have offered Leake.
RB Jonathon Lee, 5-11, 187, Riverdale Baptist School, Upper Marlboro, Md.
QB Riley Lees, 6-1, 185, Libertyville (Ill.) HS: Lees is from the same high school as Army junior quarterback A.J. Schurr. (COMMITTED to Miami, Ohio).
LB Peyton Long, 6-2, 225, Dallas (Texas) Jesuit HS: Also offered by Navy.
S Kenney Lyte, 6-2, 182, Fremd HS, Palatine, Ill.: Lyte holds a recent offer from Baylor.
DT William Mack III, 6-2, 255, Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J.
RB Dorian Maddox, 5-11, 200, Gilman HS, Baltimore, Md.
RB-CB Martin Mangram, 5-11, 180, Buford (Ga.) HS: Has been offered by Northwestern.
LB Solomon Manning, 6-2, 200, Colonia (N.J.) HS
QB TaDarryl Marshall, 6-foot, 172, Leeds (Ala.) HS: Marshall has received offers from Alabama, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Auburn among others. Auburn wants Marshall to play on defensive side of the ball. (COMMITTED to Tennessee).
DE Tyreic Martin, 6-4, 265, Valley (Ala.) HS
LB Tanner Matthews, 6-3, 228, Santa Margarita HS, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
DE Sal Mauro, 6-3, 238, Bergen Catholic (N.J.) HS, Oradell, N.J.
DE Matt McClurg, 6-5, 230, Alcoa (Tenn.) HS: McClurg was offered by Army, Navy and Eastern Michigan on the same day. Air Force and Ball State among others to offer McClurg.
OL-DL Drew McEntyre, 6-2, 285, Calhoun (Ga.) HS: Attended Army Junior Day.
DE Darius McFarland, 6-3, 250, Box Elder HS, Brigham City, Utah
WR-S Teddrick McGhee, 6-2, 175, Memphis East HS, Memphis, Tenn.
DT Jordan McGriff, 6-3, 320, Hun School, Princeton, N.J.
LB Jimmy McKinney, 6-1, 225, Oologah (Okla.) HS: Air Force, Colorado State, Wyoming and Ohio are among the schools to offer McKinney.
DL Alex Miller, 6-3, 265, Stratford HS, Houston, Texas
RB Tre Miller, 6-1, 215, Dixie HS, St. George, Utah
RB Darius Morehead, 5-8, 170, Ensworth HS, Nashville, Tenn.
CB Chris Moore, 6-2, 185, Broad Run HS, Ashburn, Va.
CB Khalil Moore, 5-11, 165, Davidson Day HS, Davidson, N.C.: Moore’s Hudl profile says he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.
WR-CB Lonnie Moore, 5-10, 165, Paul VI HS, Haddonfield, N.J.: Attended Army Junior Day
RB Blake Morgan, 5-10, 170, Creekside HS, St. Johns, Fla.
CB T.J. Morrison, 5-11, 175, Stepinac HS, White Plains, N.Y.
S Justin Mulbah, 6-foot, 200, St. Vincent Pallotti HS, Laurel, Md.: Navy was first to offer Mulbah.
TE Jordan Myers, 6-1, 205, Dickinson (Texas) HS
TE Mack Nash, 6-5, 250, Camden County HS, Kingsland, Ga.: Navy also offered Nash.
OL Marshal Nathe, 6-3, 285, Centennial HS, Peoria, Ariz.: (COMMITTED to Arizona State)
TE Trey Neville, 6-4, 245, Lafayette HS, Williamsburg, Va.: Attended Army Junior Day
WR Tre Nixon, 6-foot, 155, Viera (Fla.) HS: ESPN ranks Nixon the 176th-best player and the 24th-best receiver in the 2016 class.
QB L.J. Northington, 6-2, 190, Lutheran HS, Orange, Calif.: Navy has offered Northington.
WR Audie Omotosho, 6-2, 189, Plano (Texas) East HS: Recently offered by Arkansas. Oklahoma State, Utah, Kansas, Boston College, Navy and SMU are among other schools to offer Omotosho.
DL Tymir Oliver, 6-4, 265, West Catholic HS, Philadelphia, Pa.
DB Mikial Onu, 5-11, 175, George Ranch HS, Richmond, Texas: Onu also has offers from Navy, Air Force and Rice.
WR Jordan Overton, 5-10, 180, Brush HS, Lyndhurst, Ohio
DT Mike Panasiuk, 6-3, 285, Lake Park HS, Roselle, Ill.
WR-CB Jamal Parker, 5-10, 170 Camden Catholic HS. Cherry Hill, N.J.
LB Ryan Parker, 6-1, 205, Baylor HS, Chattanooga, Tenn.
OL-DL Mac Patrick, 6-2, 285, Hanover HS, Mechanicsville, Va.
LB Tabb Patrick, 6-1, 210, Hanover HS, Mechanicsville, Va.: Navy has offered Patrick.
RB Kameron Pickett, 5-11, 215, North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, Ga.: Navy, Air Force, Miami (Ohio), Marshall, Southern Mississippi and Buffalo have offered Pickett.
LB John Picone, 6-2, 212, Mandeville (La.) HS
LB Jonathan Pollock, 6-foot, 212, Dr. Phillips HS, Orlando, Fla.: Pollock verbally committed to Rutgers in the fall.
DE-TE Austin Pope, 6-4, 217, Christian Academy of Knoxville (Tenn.): Navy, Georgia Southern, Furman and Jacksonville State have offered Pope.
G Dylan Powell, 6-3, 270, Hannibal (Mo.) HS
LB Evan Powell, 6-1, 220, Cherokee HS, Marlton, N.J.
CB Rajah Preciado, 5-9, 177, College Station (Texas) HS
TE Matt Prendergast, 6-5, 245, Nazareth Academy, LaGrange Park, Ill.
S Austin Quillen, 6-foot, 190, Jenks (Okla.) HS: Navy, Iowa and Vanderbilt are among the schools to offer Quillen. (COMMITTED to Vanderbilt)
RB Micah Reed-Campos, 5-9, 180, Chandler (Ariz.) HS: The Hudl profile of Reed-Campos says he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds.
DL Darius Reynolds, 6-2, 225, York HS, Yorktown, Va.
WR Joseph Richard, 6-3, 200, Christ Presbyterian HS, Nashville, Tenn.
QB Tyree Rodgers, 6-2, 180, Camden (N.J.) Catholic HS
WR-S Jarel Rowe, 6-4, 190, Carrollton (Ga.) HS
CB Jalen Russell, 5-11, 195, Vista Murietta HS, Murietta, Calif.
WR Geraud Saunders, 6-3, 185, Bishop Dunne HS, Dallas, Texas: Recently offered by Air Force.
OL Zach Shackelford, 6-4, 290, Belton (Texas) HS: Rice, Tulsa and Houston among schools, which have offered Shackelford.
LS John Shannon, 6-2, 225, Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Ill.: (COMMITTED to Notre Dame)
DE-LB Brandon Simon, 6-2, 230, Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J.: Recently offered by Boston College.
K Trey Simons, 6-2, 155, Atlantic Coast HS, Jacksonville, Fla.: Army was the first to offer Simons.
WR Demari Simpkins, 6-foot, 176, Hallandale HS, Hallandale Beach, Fla.
CB Simeon Smiley, 6-1, 200, Pensacola (Fla.) Catholic HS: Wisconsin has offered Smiley.
QB James Smith, 5-11, 180, Mallard Creek HS, Charlotte, N.C.: Army was Smith’s first offer. Smith threw for 3,357 yards and 35 touchdowns and added 1,350 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns in 2014.
T-DT Nate Smith, 6-7, 260, Murrieta Mesa HS, Murrieta, Calif.: Oregon, UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona State, Arizona, California, Washington State, Baylor, Illinois, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Penn State, Nebraska, Louisville, Cincinnati and Syracuse are among the schools we have offered Smith. (COMMITTED to USC)
RB-CB Trey Snead, 5-11, 195, Fleming Island HS, Orange Park, Fla.: (COMMITTED to Rutgers)
WR Jack Sorenson, 6-1, 185, Stevenson HS, Lincolnshire, Ill.
S Keoni Stallworth, 6-2, 190, Cosumnes Oaks HS, Elk Grove, Calif.: Army was first to offer Stallworth. Air Force was the second.
RB Bryson Stephens, 5-9, 176, Morristown-Hamblen HS, Morristown, Tenn.
LB Mason Stokke, 6-3, 205, Menomonie (Wisc.) HS: Stokke won the state 195-pound wrestling title this season. Iowa has also offered Stokke.
RB Miles Strickland, 5-11, 175, Bob Jones HS, Madison, Ala.
T Sterling Strother, 6-5, 254, Campolindo HS, Moraga, Calif.
S Tyshawn Suddoth, 5-11, 178, Lake Ridge HS, Mansfield, Texas
QB-LB Tymar Sutton, 6-foot, 215, McKeesport (Pa.) HS: Navy, West Virginia, Buffalo, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Toledo have offered Sutton.
S Chanse Sylvie, 6-foot, 180, Calvary Academy, Shreveport, La.: Navy, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado State, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Tennessee are among the schools to offer Sylvie.
TE Collin Tatko, 6-5, 255, Northpoint Christian HS, Southaven, Miss.
RB-DB Yeedee Thaenrat, 5-10, 192, Father Judge HS, Philadelphia, Pa.: Picked up recent offer from UConn. Navy, Boston College and Purdue have also offered.
CB Mykal Tolliver, 6-foot, 177, St. John Bosco HS, Bellflower, Calif.: Also offered by Navy, Washington State, Colorado State and Nevada.
DE Anthony Trinh, 6-3, 230, Pace Academy, Atlanta, Ga.: Army was Trinh’s first offer. Air Force, Navy, Florida Atlantic, Kent State and Toledo are among the schools to offer Trinh.
SB Dawonya Tucker, 5-7, 150, Terrell (Texas) HS: Tucker runs the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds according to his Hudl profile.
DL Julius Turner, 6-2, 270, Meridian (Miss.) HS
RB Darryl Turner, 5-9, 184, DeMatha HS, Hyattsville, Md.: (COMMITTED to Maryland)
K Logan Tyler, 6-foot, 190, Nixa (Mo.) HS
CB Terrell Vassel, 6-1, 190, DePaul HS, Wayne, N.J.: Vassel has received offers from Temple, Old Dominion & UMass.
LB Desmond Veals, 6-foot, 195, West Brook HS, Beaumont, Texas
RB Daevon Vigilant, 5-10, 180, Downey (Calif.) HS; Vigilant’s Hudl profile says he runs a 4.3 40-yard dash.
QB Michael Viktrup, 6-1, 205, Carmel (Ind.) HS
DE Traver Vliem, 6-4, 240, Midland (Texas) HS
RB Jamauri Wakefield, 6-1, 208, Providence HS, Jacksonville, Fla.
DE Evan Weaver, 6-3, 239, Gonzaga Prep, Spokane, Wash.: California, Utah, UNLV and Wyoming are among the schools to offer Weaver.
QB Devin Williams, 5-10, 166, Mansfield Timberview HS, Arlington, Texas: (COMMITTED to Texas State). Williams committed to Texas State in late March. Five days later, Army offered.
QB Ramar Williams, 6-1, 177, Bishop McNamara HS, Forestville, Md.: Williams has also received an offer from Air Force.
T Justin Witt, 6-6, 273, Lincoln-Way West HS, New Lenox, Ill.: California and Iowa State are among the other schools to offer to Witt.
CB Jay Woods, 5-11, 180, Pinson Valley HS, Pinson, Ala.
LB Parker Workman, 6-3, 215, Bingham HS, South Jordan, Utah
LB Markus Wright, 6-3, 210, Jordan HS, Columbus, Ga.
OL Daniel Zapata, 6-3, 270, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic HS
DE-TE Zander Zimmer, 6-4, 225, Bishop Moore HS, Orlando, Fla.: Zimmer has also received offers from Duke, Illinois, Navy, Northwestern, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Southern Mississippi, South Florida, Syracuse, Virginia and West Virginia.

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Coaching staff connection led James back to Army

William James is happy to be a Black Knight.

James can’t wait to start Army football preseason camp in August and compete at quarterback.

Just two weeks ago, James, a senior at Morgan Park High in Chicago, was being pulled in another direction.

James tweeted that he wasn’t attending Army after committing to the academy on a January recruiting visit and that he was going to play for Air Force.

“With my last decision (Air Force), I wasn’t totally happy,” James said. “I think I was just trying to make my parents happy. But, looking at the situation, I wasn’t doing what was best for me.”

James said his parents wanted him to attend the Air Force Academy because its coaching staff would best prepare him for serving active duty following graduation.  Nine of Air Force coaches, including head Troy Calhoun are Air Force graduates.

“The majority of their coaches graduated from the academy and that really interested my parents that they would have the best insight on what you needed to be successful and the jobs (in the Air Force) were safer,” James said. “They (his parents) didn’t feel like there was an option in the Army as far as what jobs  to chose, which is not true.”

James needed to take a step back and reevaluate his situation.

One recent night at 11 p.m., James called Army recruiting coordinator and slotbacks coach Tucker Waugh. Waugh had started recruiting James at the end of the junior season. Army was the first Division I school to offer James a chance to play football.

“Coach Waugh did an amazing job recruiting me and I felt the staff was very genuine and didn’t lie to me like the other guys that I think were telling me some untruths or overexaggerating on some things,” James said. “I just really felt more comfortable with their staff.”

James asked Waugh if Army’s offer still stood. He wanted to be a part of the program.

“He was actually excited as well as coach (Jeff) Monken,” James said. “They gave me my space. It was really me reconsidering everything and making sure that I was making the best decision for me because it’s not a four or five-year decision. It’s a nine or 10-year decision (including five years of active duty after graduation). Even though, they were very upset (about him possibly leaving for Air Force), they were understanding.”

James said he never got as far as filling out an application for admittance to Air Force.

“Once I spoke with Coach Waugh and Coach Monken, everything they were saying I was totally agreeing with,” James said. “It just seemed crazy that I was making the change. I want to play in a Black Knight uniform for Army. It was the coaches. They were just really saying the truth and I thought they were genuine.”

When James originally committed, he was leaning toward attending Army Prep this fall. But now, James, who is 6-foot-2 and 223 pounds, will come in as direct admit and challenge senior A.J. Schurr and sophomore Ahmad Bradshaw. James said he ran some mid-line option, zone reads and quarterback sprint outs at Morgan Park in 2014.

“There’s a good chance that I come in and hopefully play right away,” James said. “I know I’m going to be competing right away with those guys and the coaches are confidently speaking on how they want me to do that and my potential to come in and contribute.”

In an unique connection, James played against Bradshaw, who went to Brooks College Prep in Chicago, in 2011. James was the second-string quarterback for Nicholas Senn High. When the starter was injured in the games, James stepping in for his first varsity action at quarterback.

“That was my first time throwing a varsity pass,” James said. “They definitely won the game. They were the No. 1 team in the conference.”

James played for three different Chicago high schools – Senn his freshman and sophomore years, Hales Franciscan his junior year and Morgan Park.

“I had nine different head coaches and tried to learn nine different offenses,” James said.

Army provides James with stability on and off the field.

“It’s more planned out,” James said. “It’s not going left to right and left to right. It’s more of a straight line and I will be able to grow academically. I’m definitely excited for it.”

 

 

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Roster update: Spring cuts

Sophomore fullback Chasen Brown is among 21 players, who are no longer listed on Army’s online roster, and have apparently been cut or left the team.

Brown, who was moved from linebacker this spring, had three carries for 33 yards in Army’s spring game Saturday.

Freshman Seth Gonzales, one of three quarterbacks who participated in spring practice, is also no longer listed on the roster.

The following players have been removed: freshman linebacker Garrett Sweetser, freshman slotback Marcelino Christie, freshman fullback Corey Wilkinson, freshman slotback Austen Deepe, freshman slotback Christian Hess, freshman linebacker Dennis Washington, freshman linebacker Justin Byers, freshman linebacker Dan Davis, freshman kicker Blake Wilson, freshman cornerback Taylor Ragland, freshman offensive lineman Jake Vaughn, freshman tackle Dan Carlone, sophomore offensive lineman William Parker Bates, sophomore offensive lineman O.J. Hall, freshman wide receiver Bronson Noggle, freshman kicker Jonathan Kim, sophomore wide receiver Adam Bungum, freshman wide receiver Dylan Eddy and freshman tight end Nick Schebler.

Davis, Washington and Hall did not participate in spring practice due to injury.

Byers saw some second-team snaps at outside linebacker in the spring.

Hess, Deepe, Noggle and Ragland were walk-ons this spring.

Freshman slotback Egbezien Obiomon remains on roster though I’ve been told he quit the team last week.

Could be a few more names to release.

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Giachinta, Timpf 2015 captains

Army players were handed slips of paper and asked to write their top two picks for captains of the 2015 team.

Position and class didn’t matter.

When the votes were tallied, senior fullback Matt Giachinta and junior linebacker Jeremy Timpf were selected as captains by their peers.

It’s honor that Giachinta, who grew up in Cold Spring, 15 miles from West Point, has always dreamt of.

“I’m definitely humbled that I was selected by my teammates to serve as a captain this year,” Giachinta said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to grow as a leader.”

Giachinta joins a distinguished group of fullbacks, who have been Army captains, including Joe Ross, Mike Viti, Collin Mooney and most recently, Larry Dixon, last season.

Timpf, the team’s leading tackler in 2014 and a Lott Trophy candidate, will be the first junior captain since Stephen Anderson in 2009.

“Our team recognizes that they (Giachinta and Timpf) provide the leadership that we need when it’s necessary,” Monken said. “They lead by example and when somebody leads by example their voice can be heard. I think that speaks to the strengths of both of those guys.”

Like last season, Monken said every senior in the program will get a chance to be a game captain along with Giachinta and Timpf this season.

Army also announced a leadership council, which consists of Giachinta, Timpf, senior cornerback Chris Carnegie, senior center Matt Hugenberg, senior quarterback A.J. Schurr, junior cornerback Josh Jenkins, junior linebacker Andrew King, sophomore defensive end John Voit and sophomore linebacker Scott Washle.

“We have a lot of guys on this team that can lead,” Monken said. “There are representatives from each class on the leadership council. I think it’s important that everybody on our team recognize that there’s more than just a couple of guys that can lead.

“Often times when captains are voted for, too many people count on just the captains to take care of the leadership and be responsible for that. Having a leadership council puts some of that responsibility on other guys and says to the team that there are other guys that can lead.”

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

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VIDEO: Coach Monken post-spring press conference

For your viewing pleasure, here’s the start of Army coach Jeff Monken’s postgame press conference from Tuesday.

 

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Post-spring depth chart: Defense

Army remains young on the defense.

Only two seniors – nose tackle T.J. Atimalala and linebacker Justin Fahn – are on the two-deep of Army’s front seven.

The depth chart lists eight sophomores including starters John Voit (DE), Bayle Wolf (OLB) and Rhyan England (S).

Xavier Moss, a former wide receiver, is listed as the starting boundary safety.

Steven Johnson, a Newburgh Free Academy graduate, is listed as the second-team field corner behind three-year starter Chris Carnegie.

Note: Class years are for 2015 season

DE: John Voit, Soph.; Spencer Welton, Soph.
NT: T.J. Atimalala, Sr.; Andrew McLean, Soph.
DT: Jordan Smith, Jr.; Shawn Lemoto, Jr.
Rush end: Seth Combs, Jr.; Alex Aukerman, Soph.
OLB: Bayle Wolf, Soph.; Blake Goddard, Soph.
MLB: Andrew King, Jr.; Scott Washle, Soph.
WLB: Jeremy Timpf, Jr.; Justin Fahn, Sr.
CB: Josh Jenkins, Jr.; Jared Rogers, Sr. or Mike McFadden, Sr.
CB: Chris Carnegie, Sr.; Steven Johnson, Jr.
FS: Rhyan England, Soph. or Tevin Long, Jr.
S: Xavier Moss, Jr.; Luke Proulx, Sr.

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Post-spring depth chart: Offense

Coach Jeff Monken said he’s interested in seeing how the competition for starting quarterback plays out between A.J. Schurr and Ahmad Bradshaw starting in August.

Schurr, who will be a senior, missed spring practice recovering from shoulder surgery. Monken said he’s not sure how Schurr will respond in August after not taking a snap since December.

Monken said the game needs to slow down for Bradshaw, who will be a sophomore, and the more he plays, the more option reads and throws will come naturally.

“I think he’s a talented guy,” Monken said. “It will be interesting to see what he looks like when we take the red jersey off of him.”

Army only had three quarterbacks – Bradshaw, sophomore Matt Kaufmann and freshman Seth Gonzales – this spring. Quarterbacks were not tackled to ground in practices to prevent injury.

Roster notes: Can confirm freshman running back Egbezien Obiomon quit the team last week. Monken said 20-25 players have been cut or left the team since Saturday’s spring game. Army’s roster hasn’t been updated yet but still trying to confirm who is no longer on the team.

Offense (2015 class year)
QB: A.J. Schurr, Sr. or Ahmad Bradshaw, Soph.; Matt Kaufmann, Jr.
FB: Aaron Kemper, Jr. or Matt Giachinta, Sr.
SB: John Trainor, Soph.; Louis Napoles, Soph.
SB: Joe Walker, Jr.; Elijah St. Hilaire, Jr.
WR: Edgar Poe, Jr.; Jermaine Adams, Soph.
WR: DeAndre Bell, Sr.; Jeff Ejekam, Soph.
TE: Kelvin White, Sr.; Ryan Alexander, Sr.
LT: Justin Gilbert, Sr.; Ryan Alexander, Sr.
LG: Mike Houghton, Soph.; Lofi Tamasese, Jr.
C: Matt Hugenberg, Sr.; Josh Boylan, Soph.
RG: Lofi Tamasese, Jr.; Jaryn Villegas, Soph.
RT: Drew Hennessy, Sr.; Brett Toth, Soph.

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Moss finds home at safety

Xavier Moss knows there’s work to do.

Moss hasn’t perfected playing safety in 14 spring practices.

But, each day, the former wide receiver gets more comfortable at his new position.

Moss picked off a pass in Army’s Spring Game Saturday.

The plan is to remain at safety for the start of preseason camp in August, Moss said.  He plans on studying Army’s defensive playbook as much as possible in the offseason.

“There’s nothing worse than getting out there and getting confused,” said Moss, who is 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds. “When I know what I’m doing and I’m real confident and have it down pat over the summer, I feel like I can come here in the fall and (play) real fast.”

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

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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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