May 18, 2009

GBK.com looks at the USMAPS Class of 2009 - Offense

Every signing class is a little different. For Army's 2008 class, we saw that the majority of recruits strategically designated to the prep school (USMAPS), where the Black Knights brought in a record number of quarterback recruits; one of which was signature quarterback Paul McIntosh, who was Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year, Although McIntosh came in direct, he epitomize the talent and depth of the class at each position.

For example, the Black Knights sent a shot over the bow by their own recruiting standards as they put together an impressive offensive line class that had both size and talent; two to three quick and speedy running backs that included Lonnie Liggins. Incorporated in this group were some stellar defenders such as Arizona Defensive Lineman of the Year, Derek Bisgard and an under the radar quarterback named Trent Steelman.

Well, for the 2009 recruiting class that will be headed to the USMAPS this summer, there are similar characteristics, but …

… What other interesting factoids have we discovered? Well, first and foremost, this is new Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson's first official recruiting class. Those prospects who are on board are the players that Ellerson and his staff wanted to be here … it truly has the first year Army coach's signature of approval.

Another noteworthy statistic from this incoming class is that three players are from the Orange Lutheran High School (CA). They are All-Trinity League players Kyle Dravis (RB), Davonte Anderson (CB) and All-County wide receiver Scotty Williams. Add to that group, Zach Burge (OL), who was Co-Lineman of the Year and you have four new Black Knights from the talent rich Trinity League that are prep bound. How talented is the league? QB, Matt Barkley (USC bound & #2 on their depth chart) was the "Co-MVP" of the league.

Speaking of coming from the same high school … Running back Justin Trimble out of
Arlington (VA) Bishop O'Connell also has the high school connection, where he will be joined by high school teammate & linebacker, Taylor Hayes-Leak. However, the 6-foot-0, 205 running back also has an Army football-West Point-Family tradition to uphold, as he becomes the third member of his family to wear the Black & Gold.

He is following in the footsteps of his brothers, Jeremy, who was one of the 2008 captains and holds several receiving records, as well as his other sibling, Jordan, who was the starting cornerback last season, until falling to an injury.

GoBlackKnights.com takes a look Class of 2009's talent.

QUARTERBACK - Adding depth & talent at quarterback.


Commits (3): Cody Jackson, Zach Williams, Miles Freeman

Grade: B

It is obvious that the Army coaching staff had some obvious motives with this class and addressed several pressing needs at quarterback. However, one area for this position that needed to be address is an attribute that Coach Ellerson expects and needs from anyone running his offense, and that is athleticism.

With Cody Jackson, Zach Williams, and Miles Freeman, you could clearly call this a successful trio of quarterbacks who can effectively run the triple option. But don't be surprised that once the dust settles, that at least one of these prospects start seeing reps at another skilled position.


RUNNING BACK - Stockpile of Talent

Signees (7): Raymond Maples, Marcus Dixon, P.J. Clark, Kyle Dravis, Julian Crockett, Trevor Taylor, Justin Trimble, Bryce Flowers

Grade: A-

Recruiting can be just as much of a game of timing as it is a game of personnel. This past season, it seemed as if the clock started early and the class started to come together. It appeared that the crown jewel of the running back was going to be 3-star back, Justin Semmes, who appeared like an Army lock. However, once the dust had settled, Semmes had committed and signed with Miami (Ohio).

However, fear not, because names like Maples, Taylor, Dixon, Dravis, Clark, as well as Crockett surfaced and are prep bound. Maples is an all purpose back, as are Taylor, Dixon, Trimble and Clark. Dravis' speed and elusiveness make him a solid fit for the triple option attack. Trimble is recovering from a senior season ending injury and a year at the prep school could serve as an opportunity to get his wheels back on par.

Ironically, Maples could actually be a defensive jewel for the class of 2009, where he is just as effective in the secondary as he is carrying the ball.

WIDE RECEIVER - The next wave of Wide Receivers.


Signees (3): Tyler Dickson , E-Jay Tucker , Scott Williams

Grade: C+

It was important for the Black Knights to reach out and track down more than one receiver, as well as try and diversify the types of wide outs that would be lining up in the offense of the future. And that is exactly what Dickson, Tucker and Williams represent - diversified talent.

Three different receivers, each with different abilities will give Army offensive coaches plenty to work with for the future




OFFENSIVE LINEMEN - Who will step up?

Signees (10): Trevor Rothstein, David Martin, Kyle Gilliam, Austin Noonan, Robert Panchisin, Zach Burge

Grade: C

This is not a star powered group, and compared to last season, this is small group, not only in quantity, but also their overall size. However, size is not the reigning factor for offensive linemen in Ellerson's scheme. Although expect players like Rothstein, Gilliam and Burge to add some additional weight during their year at the USMAPS. But then again, there is David Martin, who tips the scales at 6-foot-3, 283 pounds and is a player. Martin could contribute on the other side of the ball, but either way, he brings a mean streak with his game and is a welcome addition to this class.

The addition of these current recruits will help surround young talented linemen from last season like Jon Neil and Frank Allen with several other impact players. If all goes according to plan, the offensive line will be set for years to come especially with a strong crop of players coming up in the class of 2008 as well with current commits David Martin and Trevor Rothstein, who could be rising talent at guard/tackle and center, respectively.


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