Army Depth Chart Update: QUARTERBACKS

The Army Black Knights concluded their spring football practice last month with the annual Black & Gold game at Michie Stadium. The spring practice saw many projected starters limited by minor injuries and by the staff's efforts to keep them healthy.

In their absence a number of underclassmen moved up the depth chart at fullback, A back and wide receiver. Despite losing four starters the offensive line looked very good.

With spring practice concluded, ArmySports.com will look at the projected post spring practice depth chart. We'll review the offensive starters, projected backups and players who might contribute. As is our usual policy at ArmySports.com we will not discuss athletes currently attending the United States Military Academy prep school who might possibly impact the 2011 depth chart. We will discuss these players by position, along with direct admits, after they take the oath on R-day.

QUARTERBACK
Starter: Trent Steelman #8 Jr.
Back up: Max Jenkins #11 Sr.
Player to Watch: Cody Jackson #16 So.

Trent Steelman has started every game as quarterback in his two years at the West Point and as long as he remains healthy that will not change this season. Even with Steelman sitting out recuperating from off season shoulder surgery no one challenged his position as starter. In fact, Steelman, not exactly Peyton Manning in terms of accuracy, probably would have done better job throwing with his injured arm than his replacements did. During the Black & Gold game the quarterbacks completed only 3-of-10 passes.

Senior Max Jenkins saw most of the reps with Steelman out. Jenkins is secure as the backup. Max understands the offense, makes good reads in the option and is a solid game manager if not the world's most accurate passer. I have concerns about a major drop off in ability from Steelman to Jenkins if Trent is hurt during the season for an extended period of time. That said, Max is the second best quarterback on the roster due to his intelligence and complete understanding of the system.

Cody Jackson is possibly a quarterback to watch. Jackson did a nice job in leading the 2009 prep team to 23 points per game and was a member of Rich Ellerson's initial recruiting class. However, Jackson left the team both in the fall and this spring with the staff's permission to focus on academics. If the left-handed throwing quarterback can improve academically and remain eligible he will upgrade the depth chart.

The other quarterbacks on the roster are senior Jimmy Reitter and sophomore Chase Cresto. Reitter was praised by offensive coordinator Ian Shields for improving his game this spring. Despite the praise both Reitter and Cresto have limitations to their games. I expect both will be bypassed by incoming direct admit and prep school quarterbacks this summer.

In our next edition we'll look at the Black Knight A and B backs.

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