Army Incoming: Quarterbacks

ArmySports.com will discuss this year’s incoming football freshman class by position. Sixty new Army plebe football players officially took the oath on R-Day. New Army head coach Jeff Monken looks to start to rebuild the Black Knights football program with this initial class. ArmySports.com will begin our look at the plebes by reviewing the new Army quarterbacks.

Ahmad Bradshaw (5-11, 190) was the starting quarterback for the United States Military Academy Prep School last fall. He split time with Kado Brown at that position. Bradshaw may turn out to be the most talented quarterback recruited by the previous regime. He was a four year starter at Brooks Prep high school in Chicago, Illinois. Bradshaw was named to his all-conference team every year as he passed for over 6,500 yards and 84 touchdowns during his high school career. He operated out of a spread shotgun offense. Bradshaw was named to the All-City team as a senior. In 2012 he threw 24 touchdown passes and ran for over 1,000 yards while adding an additional 19 scores on the ground. Bradshaw's Brooks Prep team advanced to the state quarterfinals and won the Illini-Heartland conference his senior season.

Ahmad earned the starting quarterback job at USMAPS last year. He ran for two touchdowns in the season opening 41-7 victory over RPI JV. The following week he showed his toughness and strength as a runner and threw a touchdown pass in a dominating performance versus Gattaca Academy. Bradshaw ran for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jermaine Adams in a 31-6 win over Bridgton Academy at West Point. In the Valley Forge game he burst free for a 70-yard touchdown run on the Black Knights opening play. Ahmad ran hard and broke a tackle to earn a key first down late in the game in a surprisingly hard fought and close 14-12 victory over Globe Institute. Bradshaw broke off a 46-yard touchdown run on the opening drive in a victory against traditional prep powerhouse Milford Academy. He carried the ball for 94 yards against Milford Academy but struggled passing the ball as he completed only one of five passes for six yards with an interception. Bradshaw ran for over one hundred yards in a blowout win against the Delaware Gamecocks. Ahmad and the offense were shut down in the finale against Navy Prep denying the USMAPS Black Knights an unbeaten season. He was intercepted a few times in the game as the Black Knights produced only one touchdown and 138 yards of total offense. In fairness to him the team was very shorthanded as it was beset with suspensions for players violating team rules. A number of key Black Knights starters on both sides of the ball did not play.

Bradshaw is talented athlete. He is still learning to be an option quarterback and how to play under center. He is a physically strong runner with good quickness but lacks blazing speed. He did manage to break free on a few long touchdown runs despite not possessing top end speed. He has good acceleration in the hole and can run through arm tackles. He has good arm strength for an option quarterback and can throw the ball on the move. Ahmad needs to improve his consistency throwing the deep ball. He is a natural leader and a confident player. Bradshaw also needs to improve his ball handling skills and pitch decisions. He fumbled too many snaps last year. He needs to remember to ride forward with the center when taking the center exchange in an option offense. He fumbled too many snaps because he failed to move forward with the center as he hiked the ball. He made a number of poor decisions pitching the ball like against Milford Academy when a wayward pitch behind a slotback was returned for a defensive touchdown. Bradshaw has a nice upside but is still very raw as an option quarterback. I do not believe he'll challenge for the starting job as a plebe but after a year in the new system he has the talent to compete for the quarterback job down the road.



Kado Brown was a co-starter at quarterback for the United States Military Academy Prep School last fall but saw less reps than Ahmad Bradshaw. Brown was listed as a running back on the official R-day list but he played quarterback last fall and in high school. He is a 5-11, 180 pound quarterback who ran a spread offense at Rio Mesa high school in California. As a senior, Brown completed 59.7% of his passes and threw eight touchdown passes. Kado also rushed for 940 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in 2012 as a high school senior.

Brown had his best game in the opener when he threw three touchdowns passes in a 42-7 win over RPI JV. He ran for a touchdown and threw for another touchdown the following week against Gattaca. Brown showed excellent speed in breaking free on a long run against Valley Forge. He had some rough moments against Milford Academy but burst through a hole for a 28-yard gain late in the game to set up the game winning touchdown in an exciting 42-40 USMAPS victory. Brown showed his speed in ripping off a long touchdown run in a 56-6 rout over the Delaware Gamecocks. He really struggled to move the team and threw multiple interceptions in a 48-11 loss in the finale against Navy Prep when the Army prep was missing a number of starters.

Brown has excellent feet and good speed for an option quarterback. As a runner he is quick, shifty, elusive and can plant his foot and go. Brown is quick with a legit 4.67 time in the forty yard dash. He can make defenders miss in the open field. He was a high school spread quarterback. He is learning how to play under center and run an option offense just like the USMAPS co-starter Ahmad Bradshaw. He's physically smaller than Ahmad and not as strong but plays faster and is more elusive with better pure run skills. Brown has fairly good arm strength for an option quarterback and can hit an open receiver but struggles at times with his accuracy. He forced the ball into coverage a few games like against Navy prep which led to passes being picked off. He did a solid job running the offense and the team was usually productive with him under center. Kado did have ball security issues and fumbled a number of times last fall. He has the ability to eventually compete for a starting spot. If the new staff decides to move him from quarterback he is athletic enough to play running back, wide receiver, defensive back or return kicks. He chose Army over an offer from North Dakota.



The R-day list had USMAPS graduate Brandon Barnes (6-1, 185) listed at quarterback but I believe he will play a different position at West Point. Barnes was initially recruited as a quarterback and attended the United States Military Academy Prep School last fall. He is a local product from Staten Island who was a three-year high school starter at quarterback. Barnes won 28 of the 31 games at quarterback for Tottenville high school. He tore his ACL during his junior season in 2011 but rehabbed successfully to be ready for his senior campaign. Barnes led his team to the PSAL city title game at Yankee Stadium in 2012 but had to leave the game after injuring his left collarbone. Barnes threw 31 touchdown passes one season while running a very short passing game offense.

Barnes was a better athlete than passer despite compiling some impressive statistics. After last year’s training camp at the prep school it was obvious that he wasn't as talented as the two other quarterbacks previously mentioned. Barnes was moved from quarterback to cornerback. He missed some time with injuries and served most of the year in a reserve role. He'll need time to develop and improve his coverage techniques. I believe the current staff will keep him in the defensive backfield with his likely destination being safety. Barnes attracted interest from Fordham and Stony Brook in addition to the Ivy league before choosing West Point.



There are two direct admit quarterbacks joining the Black Knights straight from high school this year. Both were recruited by the new staff and committed after Jeff Monken was named head coach. One of the direct admits is Seth Gonzalez (6-1, 190) who was a three year starter at Chapin high school in Texas. Gonzalez ran for 1,444 yards and twelve touchdowns last fall. He threw for 2,730 passing yards and 25 touchdowns in 2013 and earned All-State honorable mention honors. During his high school career he threw a total of 72 touchdown passes and ran for another 22 scores. Gonzalez lacks a big arm but was a very accurate passer with a 73% completion percentage his senior year. He ran a spread offense and has quick feet but with 4.8 speed in the forty yard dash it’s obvious he lacks a top end gear as a runner in the open field. His highlight tape makes Seth look a lot like a taller right handed version of current Army third string quarterback Matthew Kaufmann.



The other direct admit quarterback listed is Blake Goddard. Blake is a 5-foot-11, 201 pound player who was a two-way star at Kirkwood high school in Missouri. The four year starter was named first team All-State and first team All-Region at linebacker. On offense Blake earned all-conference honors both at quarterback and as an underclassman playing wide receiver. He is a good athlete with 4.61 speed and he can bench over 345 pounds. Goddard is a work out warrior. Blake demonstrated good body control, run vision and power while running the ball as a spread quarterback. He displays excellent strength with his ability to break tackles and on defense as a hard hitting linebacker. He is on the R-day list as a quarterback but the best position for his skill set may be at linebacker. The dual threat quarterback chose West Point over offers from Kent State, Illinois State, Missouri State and Southern Illinois.



Next: A Look at the Incoming Fullbacks

InsideArmySports.com Top Stories