Army Incoming: Fullbacks

ARMYSPORTS.com continues our review of this year's incoming freshman class by position. The fullback, or B-Back, in the Army offense may be the deepest position on the team. Since Ellerson became head coach all the offensive MVPs at the prep school have all been the starting fullbacks. ARMYSPORTS.com will now take a look at the new Black Knight fullbacks.

ARMYSPORTS.com continues our review of this year's incoming freshman class by position. The fullback, or B-Back, in the Army offense may be the deepest position on the team. Since Ellerson became head coach all the offensive MVPs at the prep school have all been the starting fullbacks. Aaron Kemper joins Raymond Maples, Larry Dixon and Marcus Poling as B-backs who received this honor. ARMYSPORTS.com will now take a look at the new Black Knight fullbacks.

Aaron Kemper (5-6, 205) was the starting fullback at the United States Military Academy Prep School last year. He earned the team's offensive MVP award for his prolific rushing performances. Kemper was the most productive B-back, if not necessarily the most talented one, who played for former USMAPS head coach Tom Simi. Kemper played three years as a fullback in a triple option offense for Winton Woods high school in Ohio. He saw the Showtime special a "Game of Honor" and was so impressed he committed even before his official visit to West Point. Aaron was voted Ohio's best offensive player his junior year when he rushed for 1,606 yards and 28 touchdowns. Kemper rushed for 1,541 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior.

Kemper was named the starter at the fullback, or B-back, and dominated from The Opening game. In the opener against Kings College JV Kemper scored on a 22-yard touchdown run as he ran for over 100 yards. Aaron really started to roll by game three versus Gattaca Academy when he rushed for 155 yards and scored twice in a blowout win. Kemper keyed the offense's 62 point explosion against traditional prep powerhouse Milford Academy. He carried the ball 28 times for 250 rushing yards and scored twice. He caught two passes for an additional 20 yards. Kemper demonstrated good speed on a 52-yard touchdown run. In the 47-6 win over Valley Forge he was once again a workhorse as he ran 22 times for 136 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns. Kemper recorded four rushing touchdowns in the hard fought win over Globe Academy. In the finale, a loss against Navy Prep, he ran very hard and grinded out 130 rushing yards while scoring two touchdowns.

Kemper is a very short, stocky muscular runner who is solid as a rock. On the field he seems so short that he almost looks like Raymond Maples Mini-Me. He is a very physical runner who is tough to tackle. Kemper, due to his height, can get lost behind Army's offensive line making it hard for opposing defenses to see him at times. He has a nice burst through the line after taking the mesh hand off. He has terrific leg strength. Kemper can bounce off defenders and break tackles. He always finishes his runs. Aaron is a very quick cut back runner with good speed but lacks a high end breakaway gear. While he is very short and not that big, he is a powerful, very tough and durable player. It was very rare to see him lose yardage. I remember a few times where a number of defensive linemen who outweighed him by fifty pounds or more would tie him up but struggle to get him down. Kemper has great hands and can catch the ball out of the backfield. I didn't see him fumble all year despite being a workhorse. The staff plans to keep him at fullback but, if they want to move him to get him on the field, Kemper has the speed to play the "A " or "C" running back positions. He is a very talented player who has the ability to contribute early.

The other Incoming fullback is direct admit Richie Smith (photo at right) from Summit Hill, Pennsylvania. Smith is a 6-0, 210-pound running back and linebacker from Panther Valley high school. He was a four year starter. His senior year he earned first team All-League honors at fullback and honorable mention All-League honors at linebacker. He also was named first team All-Area and to the Times News & Standard Speaker All-Star team at fullback. Smith had an amazing game against Kutztown high school last year when he scored seven touchdowns in a single game. Richie scored on runs of 10, 43, 50, 3, 36 and 51 yards. At linebacker he also picked off a pass and returned it 35-yards for another touchdown. Smith carried the ball just 14 times for 219 yards that game. For the season the fullback rushed for 970 yards, averaged 6.5 yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns despite missing two full games with an injury.

Smith's goal was to attend West Point since his high school football team took a trip to the post a few years ago. He was a Junior R.O.T.C. Officer in high school as well as a top student. Smith is a strong hard-nosed, big effort runner. He has average quickness and speed. Richie can cut and slide and his strength as a runner lies primarily in running between the tackles. He is a natural leader and a hard worker. Smith can play either fullback or linebacker. He was recruited by Colgate, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Penn and a number of Division II schools but chose Army once they offered him.

Next: A look at the Incoming running backs.

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