Army Spring Depth Chart Review: QBs

Army was the first in the FBS to complete spring drills. ArmySports.com's Jim Lawler will review each Black Knight position to project a starter, a backup and a player to watch. Today he'll discuss the quarterback position.

The Army Black Knights just released their post spring football practice depth chart. This spring practice saw plenty of competition at quarterback, on the offensive line and at running back as the Black Knights look to replace graduating seniors. With record-setting four year starter Trent Steelman gone, the face of Army football will change. We'll discuss the three deep depth chart and mention players to watch. We'll also look at positions where we think the depth chart could be impacted by incoming freshman players from United States Military Academy Prep team. As is our policy we won't mention prep players names till R-day because they are still recruitable athletes. The class year listed is for this fall.

QUARTERBACK
Starter: A.J. Schurr #11 So.
Backup: Angel Santiago #3 Jr.
Backup: Kelvin White #16 So.
With all eyes on the quarterback competition, A.J. Schurr has emerged as the starting quarterback after spring practice. Schurr was the favorite entering spring and was the last quarterback standing both literally and figuratively after the Black & Gold game. All his chief competitors suffered injuries but it was clear all spring that A.J. was the best quarterback on the field this spring. Schurr looked sharp in the Black & Gold game as he ran for a touchdown and threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Chevaughn Lawrence.

Schurr offers the best all round skills among the quarterbacks. He displays good quickness, accurate passing and he makes good pitch decisions. Last year as the back-up quarterback Schurr saw action at quarterback in four games and carried the ball 12 times for 47 rushing yards. He threw the ball well in his appearances completing 8-of-18 passes for 130 yards and a team leading two touchdown passes. Schurr is smaller than former starter Trent Steelman but has similar quickness if not Steelman's top end gear as a runner. As a passer A.J. has an average arm for an option quarterback but is usually accurate and throws the ball very well on the move. Schurr looked poised under center and it's clearly his job entering summer camp.

Backup junior quarterback Angel Santiago had a good spring. Angel rebounded from his miserable showing last year that caused him to lose his back-up quarterback job. Last fall Santiago was tentative when he played and seemed unsure of his himself. His brief appearance late in the opener against San Diego State was forgettable. Two weeks later, after Steelman left a close Wake Forest game with an injury, Santiago replaced him and was unable to move the team. On one play Angel was so focused on pitching the ball that he held it too long and was buried in the running lane. He easily could have tucked the ball and run for a first down on the play. He lost his job after that shaky performance.

This spring Santiago handled the ball well and once again showed he is quick and an effective open field runner. In the Black & Gold game he demonstrated his speed on a 43-yard touchdown run for the Gold offense that was called back because of a penalty. Angel aggravated his sore hamstring on the run and took the rest of the game off. Santiago isn't always decisive in choosing when to pitch or keep the ball but he avoided causing any of the fumbles that have plagued this offense the last two years. As a passer Santiago showed improved accuracy this spring but his passes often lack zip and tend to float when he throws deep downfield or outside the hash marks.

Sophomore Kelvin White was having a solid spring till he was sacked and injured in a scrimmage. On the post spring depth chart he was in a tie for the backup position with Santiago behind Schurr. White offers a different type of look as an option quarterback. Kelvin is 6-3, 215 pounds and is built more like a drop back passer than an option quarterback. He reminds me of Brian Hampton who was an option quarterback at Navy from 2004-2007. Kelvin is a big, physical quarterback who runs like a fullback. He lacks the normal foot quickness and has a longer stride than the normal option quarterback. White is a strong, determined runner who can run over people and through arm tackles. Watching him run, on the JV team last fall and at USMAPS in 2011, he will consistently lower his shoulder to finish his runs and drive his legs to pick up extra yards.

As a passer White easily has the strongest arm on the team. He throws a nice tight spiral and can drive the ball down the field effortlessly. Not surprisingly he moves well in the pocket to buy time. Kelvin was the starting quarterback on the JV team last fall as a plebe. Against Gattaca Prep last fall at Michie he demonstrated his throwing ability as he fired three touchdowns passes and had another called back because of a penalty. He is a natural charismatic leader who is a highly competitive player.

Lefty quarterback Cody Jackson saw his first serious reps with the varsity after missing almost all of the last three seasons as he's struggled with academics. Jackson saw some time with the JV team last year and is listed as a junior. Jackson is an average athlete with decent quickness who deserves credit for his tenacity. Jackson struggled handling the ball at times on the mesh this spring and committed two fumbles in the Black & Gold spring game. Jackson threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide Deandre Bell in the spring game. Cody isn't a bad player but he's not as gifted running or passing as the top three quarterbacks.

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