Army spring review: Wide Receivers

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 wide receivers.

WIDE RECEIVERS

X-WR
Starters: Kelvin White Jr.
Back ups: Edgar Poe So.
Third String: Chevaughn Lawrence Sr.

Z-WR
Starters: Xavier Moss So.
Back ups: Justin Newman Sr.
Third String: Deandre Bell Jr.
The focus for Army's wide receivers playing in a triple option offense is blocking on the perimeter. This position saw a big shake-up. The X-receiver position was won by converted junior quarterback Kelvin White. He was moved from quarterback to wide receiver during spring practice. Due to injuries White appeared in four games at quarterback last season. Kelvin completed 15-of-30 passes for 143 yards with a touchdown and two picks. He ran for 91 yards, averaged 3.5 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns. White was a solid athlete but lacks the lateral quickness and quick feet to be a very productive option quarterback. This spring he was a revelation once Monken moved him to wide receiver after catching two touchdown passes in his first scrimmage. He immediately impressed with his ability to get open and his ability to catch the ball. White has nice size at 6-3, 216 pounds. He has a long stride and decent straight line speed.

The backup at X-receiver is sophomore Edgar Allan Poe. Hopefully he'll have better success at West Point than the famous poet with the same name who was separated from the Academy. Poe is a 6-3, 212 pound wide receiver from Vail, Arizona. He had a nice spring game with three receptions for 48 yards. Last year he appeared in three games and caught a 6-yard touchdown pass against Stanford. Poe impressed me when he was at USMAPS in 2012 as a physical blocker with the ability to get open. Poe is a big target with deceptive speed and a long stride. He can adjust to the ball and will make the tough catch in traffic.

The big news at receiver is the fall of two year starter Chevaughn Lawrence. In 2013 he made ten receptions for 105 yards and had his first career touchdown catch. Lawrence is pure possession receiver without the ability to make a lot of yards after the catch. Despite having 32 career receptions he dropped to third on the depth chart after a mediocre camp. He missed time with injuries this spring, dropped some balls and was not very physical blocking. Lawrence was running with the third string receivers at the end of spring. I think he'll have a hard time moving up the depth chart again unless others are injured.

At the Z-receiver is sophomore returning starter Xavier Moss. Last season he had a very good freshman campaign as he led the team with 35 receptions for 463 receiving yards and a touchdown. He averaged 13.2 yards per catch. Moss, as we discussed during last season's R-day Incoming article, has the chance to be an impact receiver on a team that needs one. He has a long, smooth fluid track stride and can accelerate out of his breaks. Moss has good speed and can run past an unsuspecting cornerback. He needs to be more consistent catching the ball. Moss played well this spring but hurt his shoulder returning a kickoff in the Black and Gold game.

Senior Justin Newman (6-3, 200) is a big target who has struggled staying on the field due to injuries. He had two catches for 17 yards for the Gold team in the spring game. He appeared in four games in 2012 after recovering from shoulder surgery. Last year he was a non-factor. Newman finished second in the Arizona high school state 400 meters (49.09) finals as a high school senior. Newman is a long strider and he is not very explosive in and out of his breaks despite his track numbers. Senior DeAndre Bell (6-1, 213) was recruited as a quarterback but converted to wide receiver in 2011 at the prep school. He has below average speed and good hands. Bell hasn't been that productive at receiver since being switched at USMAPS at either the prep school or on the JV team. He had a catch in the spring game but may be fighting for his depth chart spot this fall. The player to watch could be another incoming wide receiver from the prep school. We'll discuss him following R-Day in our Incoming freshman feature.

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