Army Incoming: Linebackers

ArmySports.com continues to review this year's incoming freshman class by position. The Black Knights face the difficult task of replacing their 2010 captain, Stephen Anderson, at Mike Linebacker. Number 50 was the fiery heart and soul of the Army defense and its best player. This year's linebacker recruiting class offers some exciting prospects. We will now preview the new linebacker recruits.

At the United State Military Academy Prep School Geoffrey Bacon emerged as a future potential impact player for the Black Knights. Bacon played Mike linebacker and had a tremendous season earning the USMAPS defensive player of the year award. Bacon is a 6-2, 205 player from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At Riverside University high school Geoff was a wide receiver and safety. In recruiting circles he was viewed initially more as a wide receiver. However, he preferred the defensive side of the ball. Bacon played football, basketball and ran track in high school.

Bacon was moved to Mike linebacker at USMAPS and immediately made an impact in the opener. Against Hudson Valley CC he made 10 tackles and knocked down one pass. The following game he made 11 tackles against Nassau CC. In the huge upset win against Milford Academy the defensive staff moved Bacon all over the field from linebacker to cornerback in an effort to slow down Milford's talented skill position players. In a game that featured 21 scholarship athletes on the Milford Academy side it could be argued Bacon was the best defensive player on the field that day. Against FDU's JV Geoff had another great game with four tackles and a fumble recovery in limited playing time with Coach Simi clearing the bench in a blowout win. Valley Forge couldn't block Bacon as he posted 11 tackles including two behind the line of scrimmage In the Stevens Tech game he was once again all over the field hitting everything that moved. Bacon sizzled all year until injures caused him to miss the final two games.

Bacon is a tremendous athlete with speed and athleticism. He is an instinctive linebacker with agility, quickness and balance. Geoff can drop in coverage and shows sideline-to-sideline range. He has an explosive burst to the ball and is a big hitter. Bacon runs a 4.56 in the forty and owns a 32 inch vertical leap. While an injury caused him to missed games late in the season it did not affect his off season workout program. Bacon is one of the defensive players from the prep school who will be put right in the mix and given serious reps. Bacon is talented enough that he has a chance to start this year as a plebe. If Bacon can win the Mike linebacker job Erzinger could return to Rover. Geoff is talented and versatile enough to play any of the linebacker spots in the flex defense. If he stays healthy he will see playing time with the varsity as a plebe in my opinion.

Michael Cermak is another prep school linebacker the staff is very high on. Cermak hails from Maryville Heritage High school in Tennessee. Cermak is 6-0, 200 pounds and runs a 4.51 forty yard dash. Cermak played mostly whip linebacker last season at the United State Military Academy Prep School. After Geoff Bacon was hurt he was moved to Mike linebacker. Against Hudson Valley CC he recorded seven tackles. The next week he made 10 tackles against Nassau CC. Against FDU JV Cermak made a third quarter interception that he returned to the FDU one-yard line setting up a touchdown. Cermak posted nine tackles and also applied pressure on some inside blitzes in the win over Valley Forge. In the Air Force prep game Mike recorded another seven tackles.

Cermak is a very agile, aggressive, hard-nosed and instinctive linebacker. He has the ability to play in space because of his speed and showed excellent range. He is a sure tackler and like Bacon should see plenty of reps with the varsity as a plebe.



Other linebackers that attended the United State Military Academy Prep School and took the oath on R day are Jay Jolliffe, A.J. Armstrong and Jim Forgrave., Jay Jolliffe was the most impressive of that group. Jolliffe is a small but solid tackler from El Paso, Texas. Jolliffe (5-10, 200) was an under the radar recruit despite his production in high school. Jay was named to the first team AP 4A All-State team. He made 126 tackles and posted nine sacks his senior year. Jolliffe's best game at the prep school last year was in the win against FDU's JV when he recorded five tackles and recovered a fumble.

A.J. Armstrong is a linebacker and running back recruit from Neenah, Wisconsin. Armstrong is 6-1, feet, 230 pounds and has 4.6 speed. As a high school junior A.J. made 122 tackles had three sacks on defense. On offense he carried 80 times for 304 yards and two touchdowns. After his junior year he received strong local interest from Wisconsin among other programs. Armstrong senior year wasn't as impressive as he posted 107 tackles and rushed for 667 yards as he saw his stock drop. He chose Army after Wisconsin only offered him as a preferred walk-on

Armstrong's overall play was a little disappointing last season as he was only a backup at USMAPS. In fairness to A.J. he was backup to the defensive MVP in Geoffrey Bacon at Mike linebacker. Armstrong does have talent. His best performance of the year came in the final game against Navy prep when he recorded a sack and made two tackles. Armstrong has played Mike linebacker and could eventually project to quick end or as a flex, whip LB or bandit tackle, player.

Jim Forgrave was a backup linebacker at the United States Military Academy Prep School last season. Forgrave played linebacker at Hempfield high school in Pennsylvania. Forgrave (5-10, 200) made 88 tackles as a junior and 104 tackles as a senior.

Colin Linkul is a direct admit middle linebacker from Glendale, Missouri. Linkul is 6-0, 200 pounds and is an excellent athlete who was a two sport star in football and in track. Colin is an outstanding shot put thrower. His longest throw measured 51 feet 10.5 inches. Linkul was a starter at linebacker and tight end his junior and senior years. Linkul, an all-league performer, has a lot of upside because he only started playing football a few years ago. Linkul was a star soccer player before his parents relented and allowed him to play football for the first time as a sophomore.

Next: A look at the incoming Defensive backs

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