Army Incoming: Wide Receivers

In our continuing series ARMYSPORTS.com will look at this year's incoming freshman class by position. Wide receiver is the one skill position on offense where Rich Ellerson is still looking to develop a playmaker. This receiver recruiting class is limited in size but offers some talent which should help the program. ARMYSPORTS.com will now take a look at the new Black Knights wide receivers.

Chevaughn Lawrence was the most talented wide receiver last year on the United States Military Academy Prep team. Lawrence played his high school ball for O'Fallon High School in Illinois. He was a two time All-Southwestern Conference receiver his junior and senior years in high school. The 6-4 Lawrence also played guard on his high school basketball team averaging over 11points per game his senior year.

Lawrence was Angel Santiago's go-to receiver at USMAPS last year. Against Hudson Valley CC he showed his speed hauling in a long completion. He had a tremendous game against Milford Academy, whose entire secondary landed scholarships, when he caught two touchdown passes. Lawrence demonstrated a second gear on the first touchdown hauling in a 42-yard touchdown pass from Santiago on a post pattern. Lawrence biggest play in the upset win against Milford Academy was on the final drive when he took a reverse handoff. He turned the corner then broke a tackle for a first down on fourth-and-long to set up the game winning field goal. Against the Fairleigh Dickinson JV Lawrence caught a 22-yard pass for a touchdown. Lawrence made a big play in the Valley Forge game when he ran 46 yards on a reverse setting up a Black Knights touchdown. Against Air Force prep Chevaughn made a tremendous catch and broke free for a long gain only to see it called back by a holding penalty on the offensive line.

Lawrence is a tall, physical and courageous receiver who will go over the middle and catch the ball in traffic. Lawrence uses his size and leaping ability well. He has excellent body control and has the ability to adjust to the ball in the air. He has very strong hands and catches the ball cleanly. Chevaughn does a nice job getting in and out of his break. He was an effective blocker and did a solid job blocking on the perimeter last season. His blocking really improved over the season after he learned how to block in an option offense. Chevaughn is the type of receiver who wants the ball in the big spot. Lawrence plays with a level of confidence and toughness no Army receiver on the depth chart currently demonstrates on a consistent basis, in my opinion. He is a very good athlete with a personal best 4.49 time in the 40-yard dash and a 36-inch vertical leap. With Lawrence's size and leaping ability offensive coordinator Ian Shields might once again use the fade pattern that the Black Knights featured in the end zone during the 2009 season with Ali Villaneuva.

Lawrence is pretty fast but lacks the pure top end speed to be considered a pure home run threat. However, he is very effective as an option receiver in this system because after pounding a cornerback by blocking him in the running game, Lawrence can catch them leaning and is fast enough to create separation and make a big play. Lawrence is a very hard worker in the weight room. He's added about thirty pounds to his formerly lanky 6-4 frame since high school and now weighs about a rock solid 220 pounds; not the 190 which was posted on the R day list. Only Justin Allen among the current receivers on the roster combines the speed and athleticism that he brings to the table. Lawrence chose Army over offers from Drake, Eastern Illinois, Villanova, Northern Iowa and Western Kentucky.



The other wide receiver who impressed at USMAPS was Michael Hudson. Hudson is the son of former Iowa State assistant coach Clarence Hudson. Michael stands 6-3 and weighs, 208 pounds. At West Des Moines Dowling high school in Iowa he played quarterback. Michael earned the attention of the Army staff after directing a pistol offense with great success his senior year. He led his team with over 686 rushing yards and scored 12 touchdowns. Hudson also passed for 1,781 yards and 17 touchdowns. For his efforts he was named to the first team All-Central Iowa. Hudson is an excellent athlete who played power forward for his high school basketball team. He also ran track and had a personal best of 11.07 in the 100 meters.

Last year playing for the United States Military Academy Prep team was a transitional year for Hudson. Hudson was originally recruited as a quarterback but after Angel Santiago won the quarterback job the prep staff moved him to wide receiver to get him on the field. Michael adapted well to the move. He is the son of a coach and understands the game and picked up the system easily. Hudson's biggest challenge wasn't the move to receiver but in staying healthy. He injured his shoulder during the season then twice sprained the same ankle causing him to miss time.

Hudson was on the field enough to show his athletic ability. In the opener against Hudson Valley CC he started a rally with a huge fourth down conversion on a direct snap to him from punt formation when he ran around end for a first down. Against Milford Academy's talented defense he was able to beat them deep and haul in a long pass from Angel Santiago that set up a touchdown. After missing time with his injuries, Hudson played well in the finale against Navy Prep. He did a very nice job blocking on the perimeter creating running lanes. Hudson's one catch in the game highlighted his athletic ability. In the fourth quarter Santiago hit Michael Hudson in flat. Michael easily raced passed a linebacker. Two NAPS defensive backs attempted to tackle him. Hudson lowered his shoulder and they bounced off as if Hudson was a speeding locomotive. Hudson scored an apparent 37-yard touchdown but was ruled out at the nine-yard line by the referees on a questionable spot.

Hudson offers nice size and is a good athlete. He actually appears in pads to be bigger than his listed weight of 208 pounds. He catches the ball well and demonstrated some run after the catch ability when healthy. He is very coachable and is a bright, heady player. He has good speed and should only improve Hudson is another one of coach Ellerson's recruits with position flexibility because of his athleticism. While I think he'll stay and develop at wide receiver, I wouldn't be surprised if the staff decides to move him to another position like they did with 2009 USMAPS top wide receiver Justin Trimble. The R day announcement listed him as a quarterback but I understand the staff doesn't plan to use him as quarterback.

Army fans say hello to Justin Newman. He is the only true direct recruit at wide receiver in this year's class. Justin is a 6-3, 190 pound receiver from Arizona. Newman possesses the size offensive coordinator Ian Shields likes in his wide receivers. At Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona Newman played tight end and defensive end. His senior year he caught 23 passes for 391 yards. Newman averaged 17 yard per catch and scored three touchdowns. Like many recruits of this staff Newman is an accomplished track athlete. He's run an 11.06 100 meter dash and a 22.14 200 meters. Newman has been timed at 4.48 in the forty yard dash. Newman has also finished second in the state in the 400 meters (49.09).

Newman possesses soft hands and catches the ball well. He plucks the ball with ease and has the body control to adjust to the ball in the air. He knows how to use his height to shield defenders away from the ball and is a good route runner. As a tight end Newman spent more time blocking than the average high school wide receiver. He was a willing and effective blocker and that should translate well to being a wide receiver in an option offense. Despite his track numbers, Newman demonstrates good, not great speed on the field. Justin is a long strider and he is not very explosive in and out of his breaks. Newman needs to spend time in Brett Gerch's weight room and get stronger in the lower body because at the high school level he didn't break many tackles. Justin's game currently resembles a faster version of Austin Barr. Newman was recruited by wide receiver's coach Andy Guyader. Even though he will initially be looked at as a wide receiver if Newman fills out his frame he could project down the road to defensive quick end or linebacker.



The R day list featured two other players at wide receiver that we already discussed at other positions. Direct admit quarterback Jonathan Lehman (6-1, 175) runs a 4.58 40-yard dash and will initially be moved to wide receiver. USMAPS back up C back Ryan Morgan (5-11, 170) will be tried this camp at wide receiver to better utilize his speed.

Next: A look at the incoming offensive line

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