Army Spring Depth Chart Review: Center

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 center position.

CENTER
Starter: Ryan Powis #52 Jr.
Backup: Todd McDonald #51 Jr.
Third String: Corey Hobbs #59 So.


At center junior Ryan Powis appeared in about five spring practices before being sidelined by minor surgery to have his knee scoped. He should be ready this fall. The Army staff hopes Powis can get healthy and start to avoid the injury bug that has plagued him the last year. Last season Powis struggled with injuries. He missed the opener with a hand injury suffered during summer camp. Ryan played well the next two games before injuring his groin in the fourth quarter of the Wake Forest game. Powis sat out the next two contests before returning to start the final seven games. The athletic Powis didn't seem as physical and lacked some of his normal explosiveness after suffering the groin injury. The staff expects him to return to form in 2013.

Powis is one of the most talented players on the roster. Last year he was named to the preseason Remington Trophy watch list for the best centers in the nation after his freshman debut. Powis is the lynchpin of an offensive line that for the second year in a row with Powis at center the team exceeded 4,000 rushing yards in a single season. His injuries caused Ryan to miss three games and his absence was felt. In the nine games Powis started Army averaged 27.4 point per game. In the three games he missed the Black Knights averaged only 14.7 points a game. Twice in 2012, Army was held to a touchdown or less without Powis at center.

Junior Todd McDonald returns as the backup center after a great spring. McDonald was a teammate of Powis at the United States Military Academy Prep School on the offensive line in 2010. Todd was a walk-on at USMAPS but won the starting right guard job. McDonald was moved back to center, where he played in high school, at West Point and started on the JV team as a plebe. He has continued to improve each year. McDonald (5-11, 239) is an undersized player but is strong and a great technician who understands blocking angles and position. McDonald moves fairly well and showed some quickness and pop off the snap. He is a fighter with a mean streak who gets after his opponents. He might have trouble with some bigger defensive tackles but he can play the position.

Third string sophomore Corey Hobbs (6-0, 230) was the center at USMAPS in 2011 and played on the JV team last season. Hobbs was a high school teammate and friend of current Army backup center Todd McDonald at Esperanza high school in California. Hobbs attended Junior College in 2011 playing for Fullerton College. Hobbs was recognized for an academic athlete award. McDonald spoke with his friend about his West Point experience and Hobbs decided to walk on at USMAPS like McDonald did the year before. Hobbs is technically proficient but is smaller and not as physically talented as Powis or McDonald.

If you're looking for another player to watch in the future it's probably the fine center from the prep school. We'll discuss him on our Incoming series which looks at the new plebes after R-Day.

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