January 25, 2008

Black Knights Recruiting Notebook: Updates

There is no doubt that Coach Brock and his staff have done an outstanding job in recruiting and getting commitments from 5 solid quarterbacks. That's right, count'em, 5!

1. Paul McIntosh, Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year
2. Josh Jones
3. Max Jennings
4. Demetrius Richardson
5. Spencer Otto

With Richardson and Otto heading to the USMAPS next season, while McIntosh, Jones and Jennings come in direct - the cupboard will not be empty of quarterback candidates making there way to the West Point campus over the next 2 seasons. Add to that group Max Fritz, who spent this past season at the prep school and you can see why the coaching staff feels confident that one or more from this group will step-up big time for Army. But like any successful quarterback, he must have a productive line up front - Just ask Tom Brady who butters his bread.

There is some young offensive line talent currently wearing the Black & Gold and they will be determine to give Carson Williams and whichever other quarterback that steps onto the field, an opportunity to lead the offense with much needed confidence. However, part of that confidence comes from knowing and trusting in the fellows up front … that they will give you more than adequate time and protection.

There are such players as in Mike Weich @ 6-foot-4, 290 lbs, Ray Quintanilla @ 6-foot-3, 314 lbs, Joe Muldoon @ 6-foot-6, 282 lbs, Alejandro Villanueva @ 6-foot-8, 275 lbs and Ethan Thies @ 6-foot-4, 300 lbs just to name a few, that represent the young and talented offensive linemen, who will be mixed in with the likes of veterans like Brandon Cox and Mike Lemming to establish the framework of the 2008 offensive line.

However, as impressive as the aforementioned players are, there continues to be a need to recruit linemen into the system, whereby they can be developed and when called upon, are ready to have immediate impact. Clearly, on the job training is something that none of the Army signal callers want to hear when it comes to the guys up front. Hence, getting the talent and developing the talent is critical.

In that case, let's look at how Brock and staff have done thus far when it comes to offensive line talent, and let's do so by using baseball terminology.

Strike Three!

1. Tyler Barnes - I had predicted that Barnes was a strong Army lean, but when it came down to it, he backed away. Good ball player and someone who could have developed over the next year and eventually added value to the offensive line.

2. Chris Lathrop - Simply put, this young man is a dominant offensive lineman and Brock truly wanted to see Lathrop wearing the Black & Gold of Army. Although he had verbally committed to Texas A&M, Lathrop was planning on taking an official visit on 1/11 but decided to stay put. Ironically, Chris has an older brother who is a West Point Cadet. Lathrop would have been a tremendous get for the Black Knights had the staff pulled off this late recruiting season commitment.

3. Evan Epstein - If the Dow were to follow his lead, the market would clearly be characterized a "Bull", because his stock is on a continuous upswing and this is exactly the type of way (like a bull) Epstein plays offense center. Unlike Barnes and Lathrop … Epstein never showed strong interest in Army.

The On Deck Circle

1. Will Wilson - Offensive line, Langley, 6-foot-4, 290 lbs.

Wilson holds offers from Army, Navy, William & Mary, Old Dominion, Georgetown & VMI. Wilson brings the size and tenacity that Brock loves in his offensive linemen. The Virginia native has narrowed his list down to three schools - Army, Navy and William & Mary. However, Wilson has not taken an official visit to Navy or William & Mary, but has experienced the unofficial viewing of both schools and feels that he is well informed with what both schools have to offer. Army on the other hand will host Wilson this weekend (1/25) for his official visit, although he has been to the historical West Point campus on various occasions. "I was there during the football season, when Army played Rhode Island," shares Wilson. "However, I have been to the schools several other times, because my dad is a West Point grad."

Look for Wilson to make his decision soon after his Army official visit.

Getting Wilson would be the icing on the cake for this year's recruiting class.

2. Joey Allen out of Cedar Park (TX) Vista Ridge High School will be part of this weekend's visitor and like Wilson, Allen could round out a pretty solid group of offensive linemen for this year's class. At 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, Allen also has an offer from Navy, and with a possible offer forthcoming from Iowa State. Allen has not scheduled an official visit with Navy and All-District player who is recruited by Coach Adam Waugh could rap up his recruiting by this time next week. "I had a home visit from Coach Waugh on Monday and we talked about my upcoming visit - it was good," shares Allen. "If all goes well, I would come home and speak with my parents about the trip and may commit then."

The Homerun

1. Matt Dillon (OG) - Although it is not 100% which side of the ball Dillon will end up or once that is decided, which position. However, if offensively, the 6-foot-4, 285 pound defender who is a direct admit could add immediate depth on either side of the ball.

2. Matt Villanti (OG) - Both Demetrius Richardson & Spence Otto will be glad to know that Villanti will be their personal escorts at the prep school. Rest assured that after a year at prep, the 6-foot-3, 300 pounder will surely push his way up the depth charts once he steps foot onto the West Point campus.

3. John Neill (OG) - Like Villanti, Neill is a welcome addition to the Army football program and should benefit physically and technically with a year at USMAPS under his belt. At 6-foot-3, 290, look for him to gain muscle mass and strength over the next year.

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