Army Incoming: Defensive Backs, pt I

ArmySports.com continues its introduction of the 2013 incoming Black Knight freshman. In part I of our discussion of the plebe defensive backs we look at Josh Jenkins, Jalen Noble and Adam Bungum.

ArmySports.com continues to review this year's incoming freshman class by position. Army's prep school produced has produced a number of starting defensive backs the last few years who made an impact as plebes. This year's incoming defensive backs look to have a few impact players and are a deep group. Cornerback Josh Jenkins was the defensive MVP at the United States Military Academy Prep School. He is the best of a number of defensive backs who could impact the Army depth chart now and in the future.

Josh Jenkins was the starting boundary cornerback last year at the United States Military Academy Prep school. Jenkins was a shutdown cornerback for De La Salle high school in California. De La Salle is one of the best high school football programs in the nation. In high school, Jenkins (6-0, 175) often used his coverage skills to take away his entire side of the field. His senior season he recorded two interceptions, defensed four passes, recovered three fumbles and made 39 tackles. Jenkins saw some time at receiver catching 14 passes for 256 yards (19.3 avg.) and scored two touchdowns. Josh was named to the First Team All East Bay Defensive team.

Jenkins was the Black Knights best defensive player and earned USMAPS defensive MVP honors last fall. Jenkins played well at cornerback for USMAPS against Kings College JV in the opener not allowing a pass to be completed against him in the shutout win. Against RPI and Valley Forge he helped the secondary keep both opponents off the score board. He had a tremendous game against Prep powerhouse Milford Academy. Josh made four tackles including a touchdown saving tackle on a kickoff return. He broke up two passes. He tackled a Milford wide receiver after a short five-yard gain and stripped the ball leading to Army recovering the fumble. Jenkins ended Milford second half comeback when he jumped an out route and returned the interception 60-yards for a touchdown in the blink of an eye. In the finale against Naval Academy Prep he made three tackles, just missed an interception, sacked the quarterback on a corner blitz and didn't allow a pass completion against him.

Josh Jenkins is a terrific athlete and the best cornerback Rich Ellerson has recruited since he arrived at West Point. He is very quick with excellent feet and hips and the ability to redirect smoothly in coverage. He is fluid, agile and can mirror receivers. Josh has very good balance, body control and coordination. Jenkins has fine man coverage skills. He can really drive and break on the ball. He is a good tackler and surprisingly physical for his size. He ran with all the wide receivers he was matched up last year. Jenkins showed a nice top end gear and the ability to stay on opposing wide receivers hips.

I would be really surprised if Jenkins doesn't eventually end up starting as a plebe if he stays healthy. Especially when considering Marques Avery's injury history and Lamar Johnson-Harris's speed limitations. Josh Jenkins has the potential to be an impact defender for the Black Knights.



Last year's USMAPS secondary lost a talented SAM safety in Tim Kamana who signed with Wyoming and a quick cornerback/punt returner Jevon Elmore to Central Connecticut State University well before R-day. The good news is those two losses were offset by the surprise addition of Jalen Noble from Air Force Academy Prep. Noble is the son of former Army football player and Blackhawk helicopter pilot Bill Noble. Bill was a wide receiver at Army under Jim Young and played on the Cherry and Peach bowl winning teams in the eighties. Jalen had played high school football at St. Francis De Sales which is one of the top high school programs in Ohio. He was their best cornerback and punt returner. Jalen Noble (5-11", 195) surprised everyone when he originally chosen a different path and signed with Air Force over offers from Army and Bowling Green.

Last year Noble attended Air Force Prep where he was the starting cornerback and returned punts. He intercepted three passes last fall. Jalen texted his father Bill during the Army-Navy game and said he should be on that field. He decided to transfer and follow his father's footsteps and join the Long Gray line. It's a tremendous pick up for the staff. Noble is a good cornerback with nice size. He is quick out of his backpedal and runs well. Jalen needs to learn the system but is a talented athlete and a terrific pick up to offset the losses in last year's USMAPS secondary. As a prep school transfer he can play immediately this fall.

Adam Bungum was a starting free safety last fall at the United States Military Academy Prep school. Bungum had played both cornerback and wide receiver at Triton high school in Minnesota. His senior year he made 43 tackles on defense. As a wide receiver he caught 22 passes for 379 yards and four touchdowns. He also competed as a hurdler on the track team.

Last year Bungum had an inconsistent year as he adapted to the demands of playing free safety in the double eagle flex defense. He played well against Gattaca Academy and helped keep Valley Forge out of the end zone. He struggled at times in coverage against Milford Academy, Globe JC and against Navy Prep. In the Naval Academy Prep game he had an especially rough afternoon despite picking off a pass and returning it for a touchdown. On the game's final play, a kickoff return, NAPS Toneo Gully took a lateral and outraced Bungum who made a diving tackle attempt at the 20-yard line in a vain attempt to save USMAPS unbeaten season. Gulley scored with no time left to give NAPS a stunning 42-37 victory and the Reasoner Trophy.

I'm interested to see how Bungum improves and if he can emerge as a contributor down the road. He has nice size at 6-2", 218 pounds for a safety. He's a hard worker in the weight room and has added 28 pounds to his once skinny frame since his senior year.

Even in the Milford Academy and NAPS games where he struggled in coverage he still managed to intercept a pass in each game. His main drawback is his rather average speed and lack of man coverage skills which was exposed by a few teams who threw over the top of the USMAPS defense. Last year he was learning how to play free safety in the flex where he was the last line of defense with no other help. His confidence and technique should improve with experience. Adam chose Army over an offer from North Dakota and a chance to walk-on at Minnesota.


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