Meet the New Black Knights: DE continues to review this year's incoming freshman class by position. The Black Knights' defensive ends were woefully undersized last season with the starters weighing an average of just 212 pounds. It caused the Army run defense to struggle against big, physical offensive lines. That said, there's good news inside for Army fans as some BIG help has arrived.

The good news for Army fans is this year's incoming class of defensive ends features some of the most talented players who attended the United States Military Academy Prep School last year. Dalton Mendenhall (6-3, 225) was an impact playmaking defensive end at the United States Military Academy Prep School last fall. Mendenhall played varsity three seasons at Rogers High School in Washington. In Dalton's junior year he lined up at defensive end outside the offensive tackle which is similar to the way the Black Knights deploy their quick end. Mendenhall made 50 tackles, posted 15 sacks and forced three fumbles. He also blocked two field goals. On offense he saw time at fullback and scored three touchdowns. During his senior year he was shuffled around on both offense and defense wherever he was needed. The coaching staff played him at defensive tackle, defensive end, running back, linebacker and he even ran the wildcat formation at quarterback. He recorded 35 tackles, 10 for a loss and added another six sacks. After his junior year he was very impressive at a number of off-season high school combines like the Nike Northwest Elite football camp where he was named MVP.

Last fall Mendenhall missed the opener against Army JV with an injury. That was the only time all season he didn't make his presence known to the opposition. Mendenhall made a huge play against prep powerhouse Milford Academy sacking the quarterback and forcing a fumble that resulted in a 20-yard loss. He played well the following week in the shutout win over Kings College as the defense held Kings to less than 100 yards of total offense. In the Valley Forge game he posted a sack and numerous pressures. He helped shutdown FDU JV and hold them to just two first downs the entire game. Against Columbia JV he made five tackles including two for a loss. In the Navy Prep game he posted a sack and made a number of key stops.

Dalton Mendenhall is a terrific athlete. He looks like a potential impact player in the Josh McNary mold. Mendenhall is an explosive edge rusher with 4.69 speed in the forty yard dash. He is a relentless, big effort player with a non-stop motor who brings it every down. He refuses to stay blocked because he uses his hands so well. Mendenhall is very disruptive and stood out as one of the best athletes on the field. He probably needs to improve his upper body strength but he can help as a plebe. Expect to see him at quick defensive end but he has the athleticism to play either defensive end spot or the flex bandit position. His family has a military background. Dalton's grandfather served in the Air Force while his father and an uncle were in the Army. Mendenhall chose Army over interest from Boise State, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Idaho State among others.

Jalen Rosales started at the other defensive end spot for the United States Military Academy Prep School last year. He is a 6-2, 235 pound player from Berkeley high school in California. Rosales was a varsity starter for three years. In addition he played tight end on offense. Jalen's senior year he had a breakout season with 82 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles and 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. As a tight end he had 14 receptions for 302 yards and scored four touchdowns. He earned All-League and All-Conference honors. As a junior he played both ways. At defensive end and linebacker Rosales made 40 tackles, posted five sacks, two fumble recoveries, one interception and scored two defensive touchdowns. At tight end he made ten receptions for 200 yards and scored twice. His blocking was exceptional and he was credited with 50 knockdowns. He received All-League honors. As a sophomore he played middle linebacker and was his team's best player.

Last year Rosales played well as a defensive end for the United States Military Academy Prep team. Against RPI JV he was unblockable most of the game. He recorded two sacks and numerous pressures in the shutout win. He was all over the field creating pressure and negative plays against Kings College JV. He pressured the Globe Institute quarterback forcing an interception. On the road in a match up against FDU JV Jalen set the tempo on The Opening series with a huge hit on the FDU JV quarterback that forced a pass to flutter which was intercepted by safety Alex Meier and returned for a touchdown. He made five tackles that afternoon. Against Columbia JV he made three tackles including two behind the line of scrimmage.

Jalen Rosales was one of the more highly regarded recruits in recent memory to choose the Black Knights over other football programs. Rosales had offers from Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State and Idaho. Jalen is a good athlete but isn't as fast as the other USMAPS defensive end, Dalton Mendenhall. Jalen runs a 4.85 forty yard dash and can bench press over 300 pounds. Rosales is quick coming off the line and can get up the field. Rosales is an explosive hitter who delivered a number of bone crunching hits last year. He is very aggressive and can run. Columbia JV took advantage of his aggressiveness by running a reverse to his side for a 36-yard touchdown when he failed to stay at home. Rosales can play either defensive end spot or the bandit position. If he gets bigger Rosales might even transition to playing offensive tackle in the Army option offense with his hitting prowess and quickness.

Ryan Alexander was ranked as a three star recruit in 2011. He attended USMAPS but broke his foot in a non-contract drill during the first USMAPS practice. The injury forced him to miss last season. He's now healthy and is ready to roll this fall. Alexander is a 6-1, 232 pound defensive end from Canadian, Texas. Alexander was an extremely productive but surprisingly under recruited talent. Ryan recorded 35 sacks during his high school varsity career. In 2008 he recorded 70 tackles and 13 sacks. In 2009 he had an awesome year with 102 tackles and 12 1/2 sacks. Alexander was selected Class 1A defensive Player of the Year for his efforts. As a senior Ryan earned first team All-State honors. He made 97 tackles and posted nine sacks. Alexander is a natural pass rusher with excellent technique. Ryan has up the field acceleration and 4.8 speed in the forty yard dash. He can play defensive end, three technique tackle or on the offensive line.

Next: A look at the incoming linebackers Top Stories