Army spring review: Slotbacks (A-Backs)

Army recently completed its first spring practice under new head coach Jeff Monken. ArmySports.com will now review every position, listing the starter, backup and third string player. In this edition we look at the slotbacks (A-Backs).

SLOTBACKS (A-BACKS)

Starter: Terry Baggett Sr.
Back up: Stephen Fraser Sr.
Third string: Elijah St. Hilarie So.
Fourth string: Trenton Turrentine Sr.
The Black Knights had their best two slotbacks missed much of spring practice. First team All-Independent running back Terry Baggett was injured early in camp. In 2013 the soon to be senior ran for 1,113 yards, a 7.9 average, and eight touchdowns. Raymond Maples sat out this spring rehabbing his injury. Maples will return for a fifth year this fall.

Terry Baggett had a great season in 2013 and finally made it through last year without suffering an injury. He had missed most of his first two years with injuries. The injury bug bit him again this spring and he missed most of camp. Baggett is a talented slashing, cutback runner with excellent vision, who unlike most of the Black Knight running backs, is often able to make the first man miss. He is a strong runner who can break arm tackles. Baggett needs to improve his blocking in space while on the move in the new system. I wasn't surprised by Terry's break out season. There aren't any questions about Baggett's talent. His record setting 304 rushing yards, four touchdown performance against Eastern Michigan proved that he is an impact player. He needs to stay healthy and on the field. Hopefully this spring isn't a harbinger of the return of his injury issues. Baggett has excellent hands and lost only one fumble last season in 141 carries.

Senior Stephen Fraser (26 yards, 2.9 avg. in 2013) had fallen out of favor with the Ellerson's staff. Fraser is a solid all round player with some quickness but he lacks speed. He understands the system, catches the ball well and doesn't make many mistakes. When he played under the previous staff he lacked the ability to make plays in space and was banged up a bit which limited his overall effectiveness. His playing time was diminished last year because he wasn't very physical in both his running and blocking. Under the new staff he seemed to have a new spring in his step and he lifted the overall level and effort of his play. He was taking advantage of the fresh start with the new staff but was injured his right knee in the Black and Gold spring game. He should be ready this fall.

One sophomore who is looking to break into the rotation is Elijah St. Hilarie. St. Hilarie had a nice camp and had a 21-yard reception in the Black and Gold spring game. He is a good athlete with a very smooth, effortless wide receiver like stride. St. Hilarie lacks blazing speed but on the field seems to be one of those players who plays faster than his recorded track time. Elijah has excellent hands but he needs to upgrade his blocking and become more physical. Senior Trenton Turrentine (376 yards, 6.7 avg., TD) had a rather rough camp. He missed the spring game and a lot of practice time with injuries. Turrentine needs to do a better job blocking in space and getting opponents on the ground if he hopes to see the playing time he's had the past few years. He has been a solid contributor who has improved each year since USMAPS. Turrentine lacks speed but is a downhill runner who runs hard once his shoulders are squared. He is a physical back who likes to finish his runs by lowering his shoulders to deliver a blow. Turrentine hasn't fumbled the ball over the last two years on 85 carries. Unfortunately for Trenton, he didn't make a good first impression with the Monken staff.

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