March 18, 2011

GBK: Two Deep Projections: The 2011 Offense

Several days after National Signing Day, GBK took a peek inside the Army offense in our pre-spring practice preview, as we projected the Black Knights' two deep.

We started the preview with this question …

…. How good will the Army offense be in 2011? With training camp kicking August 4th

Now that spring practice is over, there a more distinguished sense of what the two-deep will look like going into training camp and the 2011 season.

In some ways, the offense may be better than last year. The arrow is still pointed up. The staff is going into their 3rd season, junior to be Trent Steelman is starting at quarterback for the 3rd season, the backs like Jared Hassin, Malcolm Brown and Raymond Maples will be a year better and a season entrenched in the system, along with the transfusion of talent coming up from the prep school.

Offensively, there are tons of players that have played a lot of football for the Black Knights.

GoBlackKnights.com takes a peek inside the 2011 Army offense and our two deep projections.

Quaterback:

Trent Steelman (1st) & Max Jenkins (2nd)

With 25 straight starts under his belt, leading the team to a bowl victory and just his swagger alone … Yes, this is Steelman's offense. However, Jenkins is more than capable of stepping in if the third year starter happens to go down.

The senior to be is probably as respected as any member on the squad. Jenkins has already established some creditability with his teammates when he has stepped in for Steelman. That creditability also surfaces off the field for Jenkins, who is 3.8 student and is also in a leadership position with the corp of cadets.

Others: N/A

Fullback:

Jared Hassin (1st) & Dan McGue (2nd)

McGue had a solid spring and will have to battle this summer to maintain his spot on the depth chart.

Others: Larry Dixon is a superb talent and should be in the mix immediately upon his arrival. CeDarius Williams played his best football as a Black Knight and will add quality depth.

Fullback is a position of strength for the offense and Dixon will add to that strength and the competition during training camp should be fierce.

Slot (A):

Raymond Maples (1st) & Trenton Turrentine (2nd)

Maples had a great spring, who will be a breakout back for this offense. He has the ability … he knows what he is doing now and has made the transition. All signs suggest he will have a productive sophomore year.

The Philadelphia native is a complete back who was productive in spurts last year. With the injuries behind him, it is clear he can run the ball, but he catches the ball well and he is the best blocker of all of the running backs.

Turrentine is coming up from prep and has benefited from his year of nurturing at the USMAPS. The talented to back should hit the ground running and compliment Maples well.

Others: Jonathan Crucitti is an X-factor where he can remain at running back or on the defensive side of the ball. He is a "wild-card" athlete for the program who can play at a number of different positions.

Not to be forgotten is junior to be, Kelechi Odocha, who had a very productive spring. Although lacking in height, he is a very physical back.

The only direct player we project to make a dent on the depth chart offensively is Terrence Baggett, who is built in the same mold as Maples at 6-foot-0, 207 pounds.

Slot (C):
Malcolm Brown (1st) & Brian Cobbs (2nd)

Cobbs missed a lot of spring ball as he participated in Army's indoor track. Of course the mainstay at this spot is Brown, who appears to have fully recover from the injury he suffered during the Rutgers' game … although he did return to finish out the season versus Navy.

Others:
Brian Austin is a name to keep an eye on, along with prepsters Ryan Morgan and Stephen Fraser.

Wide Receiver:
Austin Barr (1st) & Justin Allen (1st)

At this position, you can almost flip a coin to determine who would line up as starters if the season were to start today … it's that close.

Clearly Barr, who was hurt during spring practice will be in the mix because he is the most consistent performer of the group when you take in consideration all phases of the game (e.g., catching and blocking)

Then there's Justin Allen, who we project as a number one coming into training camp. He has more speed than the others and the best blocker of the receiver corp. Where he has struggled is being consistent catching the football. He is going to be involved … if it's starting at receiver, the special team (returner). He has some position flexibility that he can play "C" back or even the secondary. But the 5-foot-10, 180 pounder is too good of an athlete not to be on the field.

Others: 2010 starter Davyd Brooks (2nd) will be in the conversation

Also in the conversation is Anthony Stephens (2nd), who has all the tools, but just hasn't played physical enough … which is a prerequisite at receiver within the Black Knights' triple option. In order for Stephens to get reps within the rotation of Barr, Allen and Brooks, the freshman is going to have to prove to the staff that he is willing to put his face on someone and be a relentless blocker.

For Stephens, he will have to bring that part of his game during training camp, because coming up from the prep school is Chevaughn Lawrence, who may have more upside than any of the current roster of receivers.

Although it remains to be seen, Lawrence is an emerging talent, along fellow classmate, Michael Hudson.

Center:
Will Wilson (1st) & Ryan Powis (2nd)

At center we have Wilson, who did a nice job this spring and delivered to a certain extent. Although the staff hasn't had their hands on him yet, but we project that Powis coming up from the prep school will eventually back up Wilson. The future Black Knight out of Midlothian (VA) was one of the more talented players on the USMAPS squad in 2010.

Others: N/A

Right Guard:
Matt Villanti or Joe Bailey

Since spring, there has been a real healthy competition between these two. Villanti, who will be a junior this season, has a lot more upside, but Bailey is such a consistent competitor. The staff has to be encouraged by the play of both players.

Of these two, whoever doesn't start at right guard will end up as the back for both guard position.

Others: N/A

Right Tackle:
Derek Bisgard (1st) & Mike McDermott (2nd)

Current sophomore Derek Bisgard, who came into the program as a highly touted defensive end (Arizona defensive lineman of the Year) seems to have finally found a permanent home at tackle.

When it comes to the offensive line, Bisgard had a great spring, along with Frank Allen up front.

Others: N/A

Left Tackle:
Brad Kelly (1st) & Mike McDermott (2nd)

Both Kelly and McDermott bring experience and a readiness to play.

Others: There are casts of others who are knocking on the door and could back up on either tackle spot like Dan Whitaker, Ben Jebb and Shelby Jackson .


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