Army Spring Depth Chart Review: C-Backs

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 C-Back position.



C-BACKS
Starter: Raymond Maples #1 Sr.
Backup: Stephen Fraser #27 Jr.
Third String: Tony Giovanelli #19 Jr.
Running back Raymond Maples had minor ankle surgery and sat out this spring. It obviously didn't stop the preseason Doak Walker All-American candidate from maintaining his perch on top of the depth chart. In 2010 ArmySports.com mentioned in the Incoming plebe article that Maples had the chance to be the best Army back in a long time. He has lived up to that billing after he posted his second consecutive thousand yard rushing season. Raymond is only the third Army running back in school history to rush for over one-thousand yards in consecutive years.

Maples started all twelve games last year as he ran for 1,215 yards, averaged 5.4 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns. He was dominating early in the season running for at least 107 yards in four of the first five games. Maples lacked his usual burst for about a month after hurting his ankle late in the game against Boston College. He played through the pain but didn't return to top form until late in the year when he ran for 156 yards against Navy.

Maples has excellent feet, reads blocking well and runs to daylight. He is not a burner but is able to burst into the open field. He can break tackles, finishes his runs and has a good forward body lean to pick up extra yards. Raymond did fumble far too many pitches last season. He's had an uncharacteristic nine fumbles and lost six which frustrated the coaching staff. In 2011 Maples had just two fumbles the entire season. Ball security is an area Maples need to improve. His blocking is excellent and he can catch the ball out of the backfield.

Junior Stephen Fraser backs up Maples on the depth chart. Last year Fraser played in all twelve games as he saw time as a running back and kick returner. He carried the ball ten times for 40 yards and caught two passes for 40 yards. Fraser, who will be a junior, is a solid all round player with some quickness and average speed. He catches the ball well and doesn't make many mistakes. He needs to be more physical both running and blocking.

Tony Giovannelli (6-0, 192) is a junior who worked his way up the depth chart to third string despite missing the spring game with a minor injury. Giovannelli has fairly good speed and has run a personal best 100 meters of 10.9 in high school. He needs to improve his blocking. Listed as fourth on the depth chart is tiny sophomore Jared Rogers. Rogers (5-8, 185) is a nifty, elusive runner with deceptive quickness but he lacks pure speed. He looks even smaller than his listed size so his ability to block, hold on to the ball and stay healthy are definitely areas of concern.

The player to watch unfortunately may never make it back. Speedy USMAPS star Ja'Quail Haskins was held out this spring. Haskins is still unable to play after his second ACL surgery since being injured against Valley Forge Prep in 2011. With him out the player to watch may be another incoming big play plebe running back from the prep school. We'll discuss him following R-Day in our incoming freshman feature.

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