Ali Villanueva named to Pro Bowl

Ali Villanueva’s NFL story added another amazing chapter Tuesday.

Villanueva, a 2009 Army football captain and Army Ranger, who served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan, was voted into the Pro Bowl as a starter for the AFC. The Steelers left tackle is the first West Point graduate to receive Pro Bowl recognition since Bob Mischak in 1962. According to his Army Sports Hall Fame biography, Mischak was a Pro Bowl selection in 1961 and 1962 as a member of the New York Titans.

The 6-foot-9, 320-pound Villanueva was one of eight Steelers named to the Pro Bowl, joining Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Ben Roethlisberger, Chris Boswell, Ryan Shazier and fellow offensive linemen David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey. Signed as a free agent by the Steelers in 2014, Villanueva has started all 14 games for Pittsburgh this season. Villanueva shifted from tackle to wide receiver in his senior season at Army and led the team in receptions (34), receiving yards (522) and receiving touchdowns (5).

The Pro Bowl will be held on Jan. 28 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

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Monken ties for 12th in AP Coach of Year voting

Army’s Jeff Monken earned one third-place vote and finished tied for 12th with TCU’s Gary Patterson for Associated Press Coach of the Year award.

Monken has led the Black Knights to a 9-3 record and its first Commander in Chief’s trophy since 1996 following a 14-13 win over Navy on Dec. 9. He was one of eight finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year.

Former Central Florida coach Scott Frost, who led the Knights to a 12-0 record and later took the Nebraska job, won both the Associated Press and Eddie Robinson awards.

Monken, who is in his fourth season, has Army one victory away from equaling the academy’s record of 10 wins set by the 1996 team. The Black Knights closed their season against San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Seven Black Knights named to Phil Steele all-independent first team

Record-breaking quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw was among seven Army players selected to Phil Steele’s all-Independent team.

Bradshaw is currently fifth in the country with an academy-record 1,566 rushing yards and has added 12 touchdowns.

Junior fullback Darnell Woolfolk (725 yards, 12 touchdowns), center Bryce Holland, senior guard Josh Boylan, senior defensive end John Voit (31 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 5.5 sacks), senior linebacker Alex Aukerman (68 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, 6 sacks) and junior linebacker James Nachtigal (98 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 5 sacks) also was first-team picks.

Division I college football has four independent teams – Army, Notre Dame, BYU and UMass.

Shockingly, senior tackle Brett Toth, who has received interest from most NFL teams, was a second-team pick. Joining Toth on the second team were sophomore running back Kell Walker (592 yards, 6 touchdowns), senior guard Mike Houghton, junior linebacker Kenneth Brinson (35 tackles, 4 sacks), junior safety James Gibson (43 tackles) and junior punter Nick Schrage (42.88 yards/punt).

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December 14 practice blog: England update

Rhyan England has one more game left in his college football career and coach Jeff Monken expects his senior safety to be able to suit up for the Armed Forces Bowl against San Diego State on Dec. 23.

England, a four-year starter, left the Army-Navy game Saturday due to an injury in the second quarter Saturday.

“He’s doing good,” Monken said after Thursday’s practice. “We are going to have him ready for the bowl game. He probably won’t practice until we get down to Texas (on Tuesday). Bu,t he will practice when we get there and we expected to have him for the bowl game.”

Junior linebacker Kenneth Brinson said being named to the Division I academic all-American first team was, “a big surprise.” Brinson holds a 4.06 grade-point average as a chemical engineering major.

“Everybody on our team respects Kenny,” Monken said. “He’s a good player and a good leader. He’s been voted onto the (team’s) leadership council every year that he’s been here and he excels in the classroom. He’s very talented in both arenas. He makes a bunch of plays for us and then he goes down there and performs like an all-American.”

Army practiced for the second straight day inside the Foley Athletic Center. The Black Knights had Monday and Tuesday off. Monken said Army’s final practice at West Point before the bowl game will be either Sunday or Monday.

“We are going to determine that as to who has what exams and are we giving them in all fairness an opportunity to do their very best on their final exams,” Monken said. “We felt like as an academy we needed to give these guys some extra time to prepare for their final exams, which they are going to take Friday afternoon, two on Saturday, Sunday afternoon and two on Monday.We are cramming the exams in over the weekend.”

VIDEO: Jeff Monken breaks down San Diego State

https://youtu.be/0rItYg1nkA8

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

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Recruiting: Commit Daniel Parrish’s 12-hour drive to Army-Navy

When Army commit Daniel Parrish’s flight was cancelled to Philadelphia Friday, the Prince Avenue Christian (Ga.) center embarked on a 12-hour road trip to the Army-Navy game.

Accompanied by his cousin, Christian Parrish, a junior wide receiver at Prince Avenue Christian and an Army recruit, Parrish took in Army’s 14-13 win over Navy Saturday, securing the academy’s first Commander in Chief’s trophy since 1996.

“It was so worth it,” Parrish said in a message. “What a game!”

Parrish met East Lincoln (N.C.) defensive end Ryan Matz at the game.

Matz, The Colony (Texas) quarterback Jemel Jones and Steelton-Highspire (Pa.) defensive line Tim Kater are among the Army commits, who will “sign” with the Black Knights during the early period (Dec. 20-22) next week.

Dacula (Ga.) quarterback-wide receiver Shayne Buckingham announced his commitment to Army on social media Saturday.

Collins Hill (Ga.) linebacker Jomier Augustine, Rockwall-Heath (Texas) quarterback Garrett Cody and Americus-Sumter (Ga.) quarterback-wide receiver A.J. Payne have announced they are no longer committed to Army and are opening up their recruiting.

2018 commits (76)

S Izzy Akojie, 6-2, 185, Wise HS, Upper Marlboro, Md.: First FBS offer – Army. Former Old Dominion commit.
RB Jonathan Andrews, 6-foot, 185, Dutchtown HS, Hampton, Ga.: Other offers – Navy. (COMMITTED, August 7)
OL Sam Backenstoe, 6-3, 263, Davidson HS, Hillard, Ohio: First offer – Army.
FB Cade Barnard, 6-2, 225, Seminole (Texas) HS: Other offers – Navy, Air Force, Colorado State, North Texas, Bowling Green, Nevada, UMass. (COMMITTED, Sept. 17)
WR-CB Adam Bazan, 5-10, 180, Ridge Point HS, Missouri City, Texas: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, August 3)
LB Hayden Bollinger, 6-1, 209, Lafayette HS, Wildwood, Mo.: Other offers – Syracuse. (COMMITTED, July 21)
DE Kwabena Bonsu, 6-4, 255, South Cobb HS, Austell, Ga.: Other offers – Air Force, Rutgers, Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State, Charlotte. (COMMITTED, Oct. 26)
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)
QB-WR-TE Shayne Buckingham, 6-4, 220, Dacula (Ga.) HS: (COMMITTED, Dec. 9)
RB Amon Byars, 5-8, 167, Terry HS, Rosenberg, Texas: Other offers – Navy. Hudl 40-yard dash time – 4.46 (COMMITTED, Nov. 11)
WR Cole Caterbone, 6-foot, 170, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: Other offers – Iowa, Rutgers, Cincinnati, East Carolina (COMMITTED, July 25)
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)
TE-LB Trevor Cosenke, 6-3, 212, John Champe HS, Aldie, Va.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 28)
S Zion Davis-Thompson, 6-2, 175, North Stafford HS, Stafford, Va.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 31)
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)
OL Alex Faulkner, 6-4, 270, Mishawaka (Ind.) HS: First offer – Air Force. Second offer – Army. (COMMITTED, August 12)
S Xavier File, 6-1, 190, St. Augustine Prep, Richland, N.J.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 4)
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)
P Zach Harding, 6-6, 185, Christian HS, O’Fallon, Mo.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 2)
OL Blake Harris, 6-1, 299, Ben Lippon School, Columbia, S.C.: (COMMITTED, August 3).
QB Walter Harris, 6-1, 190, Northshore HS, Slidell, La.: Other offers – Navy, May 8. (COMMITTED, April 22)
P Will Hetzinger, 6-4, 200, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Hammond, La.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 6)
LB Cameron Hoelscher, 6-2, 219, Springfield (Ohio) HS. Other offers: Air Force, Kentucky, Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Toledo. (COMMITTED, August 5)
DE Henry Janeway, 6-5, 215, Utica Eisenhower HS, Shelby Township, Mich.: First offer – Army. Other offers – Navy, Eastern Michigan, Ball State. Army visit – July 24 (COMMITTED, July 30)
LB Tim Johns, 6-3, 230, Greenwood (Ind.) HS: First FBS offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 12)
QB Jemel Jones, 5-10, 190, The Colony (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, August 21)
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)
S Ja’ren Kenyatta, 6-1, 190, Urbana HS, Ijamsville, Md.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 26)
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)
DL Kenese Leomiti, 6-4, 275, Calallen HS, Corpus Christi, Texas: (COMMITTED, August 2)
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)
QB Michael Mbony, 5-11, 189, Sherwood HS, Sandy Spring, Md.: First offer – Army. Second offer – Air Force. Other offers – Navy. Mbony’s brother, James, is a senior center for Army’s rugby team. (COMMITTED, Sept. 18)
LB Rasean McCauley, 6-2, 220, Louisville Male HS, Louisville, Ky. (COMMITTED, Dec. 4)
LB Tim McClendon, 6-foot, 205, Carroll HS, Ozark, Ala.: Other offers – Air Force, Southern Mississippi. (COMMITTED, August 7)
FB Elliott McElwain, 6-foot, 215, Hewitt-Trussville HS, Trussville, Ala. (COMMITTED, July 4)
QB Steven Migut, 6-foot. 180, Unity HS, Tolono, Ill.: First offer – Army. Offensive MVP at Army July camp. (COMMITTED, August 12)
CB Isaiah Morris, 5-11, 170, Bolles School, Jacksonville, Fla.: (COMMITTED, August 25)|
DB Malkelm Morrison, 5-10, 185, Iona Prep, New Rochelle, N.Y.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 21)
DB Braheam Murphy, 5-10, 160, Harding University HS, Charlotte, N.C.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 4)
LB Troy Nachtigal, 6-foot, 205, Fort Atkinson (Wis.) HS: Brother, James, is Army junior linebacker. First offer – Army.
RB Keyshawn Palmer, 5-11, 200, Marbury (Ala.) HS: (COMMITTED, July 26)
C Daniel Parrish, 6-foot, 183, Prince Avenue Christian, Bogart, Ga.: Other offers – Navy, Middle Tennessee State (COMMITTED, Oct. 22)
OL Kyle Perry, 6-2, 305, Centennial HS, Burleson, Texas: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 23)
S T.J. Rakowsky, 5-11, 205, Palisades HS, Kintersville, Pa.
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)
DT Bartek Rybka, 6-2, 265, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic HS: Other offers – Rutgers. (COMMITTED, Oct. 27)
OL Harmon Saint Germain, 6-foot-5, 280, Westfield HS, Chantilly, Va.: (COMMITTED, July 6)
DE L.J. Salazar, 6-2, 220, Veterans Memorial HS, Corpus Christi, Texas: (COMMITTED, August 15).
LB Nate Smith, 6-3, 220, Bishop O’Connell HS, Arlington, Va.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, Oct. 2)
FB Landry Songer, 6-1, 205, Midlothian (Texas) HS: Army visit: late July (COMMITTED, August 31)
RB Jerreth Sterns, 5-8, 180, Waxahachie (Texas) HS: Other offers – Navy. (COMMITTED, Oct. 6)
K Cole Talley, 6-foot, 175, Rockwall (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, August 27)
OL Jose Taveras, 6-4, 265, Union City (N.J.) HS
OL Jack Topping, 6-3, 261, Allen (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, August 27)
LB Evan Townsend-Henry, 6-1, 225, King HS, Norwalk, Conn.: First offer – Army. Other offers – Navy, Air Force. (COMMITTED, Oct. 26)
LB Duncan Van Kouteren, 6-3, 205, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) HS
LB Jesse Walsh, 6-3, 230, Avon Old Farms, Avon, Conn.: (COMMITTED, July 22)
RB Brandon Walters, 6-foot, 170, Bolingbrook (Ill.) HS: First offer. Verbal after attending Buffalo game on Sept. 9
RB Danny Webb, 5-7, 160, Montclair (N.J.) HS: Other offers – Illinois, Central Michigan, Kent State.
RB-WR Travis West, 6-foot, 180, Woodrow Wilson HS, Dallas, Texas: (COMMITTED, July 22)
RB Tyrese White, 5-10, 200, Hamshire-Fannett HS, Hamshire, Texas: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 29)
OL Cody Winokur, 6-2, 260, Archbishop Spaudling HS, Severn, Md.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 22)
RB David Woodward, 5-11, 180, Mout Pisgah Christian School, Alpharetta, Ga.: (COMMITTED, July 30)
WR Cole Wright, 6-3, 185, Union County HS, Blairsville, Ga.: Dual-threat quarterback is being recruited to play receiver for Black Knights. (COMMITTED, Oct. 10)
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 SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Click here for Facebook page, devoted solely to Army coverage.

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Quick thoughts: Navy

Jeff Monken addressed his team in a victorious Army locker room following a 14-13 win over Navy and told his players that the Commander in Chief’s trophy is the program’s standard in a video posted by Army athletics.

Players showered Monken with Gatorade and water.

“That’s an unbelievable team effort and it took every snap of that game right down to the last one,” Monken said in his locker-room speech. “What a great, great effort. I am so proud of this team. I’m so proud of the way you loved each other. You have committed to this together way back in August and what we talked about doing. The No. 1 goal was the CIC and we got it…and as a matter of fact, it ain’t ever leaving again.”

Army has now won three straight Commander in Chief’s games for the first time since 1995-96.

While a triumphant Army team celebrated the win on the field and in the locker room, the loss was devastating to Navy. After junior Bennett Moehring’s 48-yard field goal sailed wide left on the game’s final play, several Navy players remained on the field near the sight of the kick including long snapper Ronnie Querry who told himself how close the Midshipmen were to winning.

After Navy’s team had headed into its locker room and Army’s extended on-field celebration was coming to an end, a member of Navy’s staff remained in the end zone where Moehring’s kick fell short still in disbelief.

Moehring, to his credit, answered questions from the media outside of Navy’s locker room. He wasn’t one of the players selected to speak at the postgame press conference but still made himself available for comment. A classy move.

Another classy move was Monken wishing Jarren Jasper, the son of Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, well during the early stages of his interview with Allie LaForce of CBS. Jarren Jasper, 14, is awaiting a heart transplant. Monken was a graduate assistant at Hawaii in 1990 when Jasper was quarterback and the two have become close friends since coaching together at Georgia Southern and Navy (2002-07). He pointed to the hear sticker with the letters “JJ” and said, “Jarren, we love you. We are thinking of you. I know it (the game) didn’t go your way pal, but we are thinking about you too. We love you and hope you get healthy.”

Remember when John Voit was one of the last players to leave practice his freshman year. Voit would spend an extra five to 10 minutes on his own hitting a sled or working on individual drills. The senior defensive end’s determination was spotlight when he never quit as speedy Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry broke away from the pack in the third quarter. Voit tracked Perry down on a good 50-yard sprint which led the sophomore falling down at Army’s 11. Can argue that was the play of the game for Army because the defense held Navy to field goal extending the Midshipmen’s lead to six points and not double digits. Here’s my story on Voit’s play.

As Army was waiting for the Commander in Chief’s trophy ceremony, fullback coach Mike Viti joked with Dan McCarthy, the team’s director of football operations, about handing in his expense report on Wednesday. McCarthy laughed and said, “We are going to to White House.”

Many former Army players rushed the field after the victory. Saw DeJoun Lee, a running back who redshirted at Delaware this season, find his former classmates including Jaylon McClinton and celebrate.

How many times did Army run on tackle Brett Toth’s side during its game-winning, fourth quarter drive. Counted at least six times that quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw followed Toth. Kell Walker converted a 4th-and-1 from Navy’s 5, running behind Toth on Army’s opening touchdown drive.

Army continued to excel with ball security. The Black Knights carried the ball 49 times without a fumble in slick, wintry conditions. Army has lost just four fumbles on 698 carries this season, an incredible stat.

Army played turnover-free football in an Army-Navy game for the first time since 2005.

The Black Knights’ defense held Navy to 2-of-11 on third down and 0-for-5 in the second half.

A stat from John Chuhran of Sons of the American Legion radio: Four of the 118 Army-Navy have been decided by one point. Army has won all four including Saturday.

A stat from Bill Wagner of Capital Gazettte of Annapolis, Navy’s 13 points were its lowest since it scored 10 against Temple in the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship game.

There was no rest for Army assistant coaches following the monumental win. Monken’s staff headed on the road for recruiting. Sean Saturnio tweeted he was off to California. While, Mitch Ware made a few stops in Georgia.

VIDEO: Final play/kick of Army-Navy game and the celebration that followed

VIDEO: On-field celebration after second straight win over Navy, securing the Commander in Chief’s trophy for first time since 1996.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Click here for Facebook page, devoted solely to Army coverage.

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KnightCap: Navy

The Army-Navy game provided an euphoric Army celebration for the second straight year.

Coach Jeff Monken was hoisted into the air by his players and cadets after guiding Army to a 14-13 win over Navy and securing the academy’s first Commander in Chief’s trophy title since 1996.

The game was once again decided on a fourth-quarter touchdown by senior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, who was named the game’s most valuable player.

John Voit and the Army defense make a stand forcing a 48-yard field goal that was missed by Bennett Moehring as time expired.

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Prediction time: Army-Navy

Army opened as a 3.5-point underdog against Navy Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The line hasn’t moved much – it’s at 3 – despite Army’s 8-3 record and Navy’s late-season slide of five losses in its last six games. Guessing Vegas is basing the line of the rivalry’s history. Army broke Navy’s 14-game winning streak with a 21-17 win late December.

This time, the winner of this game will claim the Commander in Chief’s trophy, a prize that Army hasn’t earned since 1996.

The game features the nation’s top rushing teams. Army, ranked No. 1 in the nation, features record-setting quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, a quartet of fullbacks led by Darnell Woolfolk and Andy Davidson and game-breaking slotback Kell Walker. Navy, No. 2 in the country, could play junior Zach Abey, a rugged-inside runner, or speedy sophomore Malcolm Perry, who doubles as a slotback, at quarterback.

One of key statistics when breaking down the matchup is turnover margin – Army is + 4, Navy is – 6.

Snow is predicted for Saturday so ball security will be crucial in determining the winner.

Sal Interdonato (Times Herald-Record Army football beat writer): Army 28, Navy 24. Army has the advantage at quarterback with Bradshaw, who led the Black Knights on an 80-yard game-winning,  fourth-quarter drive last December. If Army’s defense can slow or contain Perry, the Black Knights should celebrate their second straight win over Navy.

Predictions from around the college football universe
Dennis Dodd (CBS Sports): Army
Tom Fornelli (CBS Sports): Army +3
Pete Fiutak (College Football News): Army 21, Navy 17
Kevin McGuire (Athlon Sports): Navy 26, Army 21

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Tuesday Takeaways (Army-Navy week)

The Tuesday before the Army-Navy game started with news that Jeff Monken was one of eight finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

Monken kidded at his weekly press conference that the votes by the Football Writers Association of America were miscounted. The four-year Army coach’s competition is Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley; Scott Frost (former Central Florida coach), Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin,  Alabama-Birmingham’s Bill Clark and Fresno State’s Jeff Tedford

Monken has led Army to back-to-back eight-win seasons, the most total victories over a two-year span since 1984 (8-3-1) and 1985 (9-3). Read Monken’s thoughts on honor here.

During the Army-Navy media luncheon last week, Monken was asked where the Commander in Chief’s trophy would go if the Black Knights were able to defeat the Midshipmen Saturday. Monken mentioned the trophy would be put in Washington Hall, West Point’s mess hall. There’s a case waiting with a photo of the CIC trophy.

“When Navy’s had it, it’s been in Bancroft Hall,” said Monken, a former Navy assistant. “There’s some steps that go up and it says “Don’t Give Up The Ship” way in the back and just to the right, there’s a trophy case there and that’s where it’s housed and during recruiting it gets brought over some recruits can get pictures taken with it but it’s there for all of the Brigade of Midshipmen just as it should be displayed at this academy, if we win it, I hope we will, when that day comes we’ll display where the Corps of Cadets can enjoy it. It’s there trophy.”

Monken on what makes the Army-Navy game, “so much fun”: “When the ball gets snapped, it’s just a fist fight for five or six seconds. They blew the whistle and then we come back and do it again and do it all afternoon. The competitive spirit of every guy out there no matter what color jersey he is wearing, is pretty incredible.”

Senior safety Rhyan England on what defeating Navy and winning the Commander in Chief’s trophy would mean: “It’s huge for our senior class but it’s also huge for this program and every class below us. Obviously, you want to leave a legacy. We know that it doesn’t dictate this team but at the same time it really will show people what this team was about and leadership that we had.”

Monken didn’t have any input on Army’s specialized “Climb to Glory” game jersey, inspired by the 10th Mountain Division but said, “I really think they are great uniforms. I know our kids are excited about wearing them. The players get excited when there’s an alternate uniform. That kind of a big deal in today’s college football. What’s fantastic to me is the way Nike, our research team, Steph Menio, Ty Seidule from our history department. They just did a great job and to be able to find a way to build a uniform that really honors a particular unit is pretty special. That to me is what is great about the uniforms. Not the way they look. I think they look great. It’s what they represent.”

Monken said there was no word if sophomore safety Jaylon McClinton will be able to play Saturday. McClinton has missed the last three games due to an academy matter.

VIDEO: Sophomore slotback Kell Walker provides an update on his ankle injury suffered at North Texas on Nov. 18 and talks about three weeks of preparation and the “Black Flag” mentality needed to beat Navy.

VIDEO: Senior wide receiver Jeff Ejekam on the anticipation for the Army-Navy game with only a few practices left

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Click here for Facebook page, devoted solely to Army coverage.

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Army-Navy Game Jerseys: 10th Mountain Division

The wait is over.

One week after Navy revealed its jersey for Saturday’s Army-Navy game, Army released its special-edition Nike uniform.

The Black Knights’ uniform will honor the 10th Mountain Division, which originated during the World War II and engaged in winter warfare in the mountainous of Italy.

The “Climb to Glory” uniforms include white jerseys with gold numerals and letters and four different patches with the Mountain Division (85th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment and 126th Mountain Engineer Battalion) and helmets with a crossed-skis decal on the front.

Army wore uniforms honoring the 82nd Airborne in last year’s Army-Navy game.

The Midshipmen will wear “Blue Angels” uniforms in tribute to the Navy’s flight team.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Started a Facebook page, solely for Army coverage. 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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