Army Incoming: Defensive Line

ArmySports.com continues to review this year’s incoming freshman class by position. The interior of the Black Knights defensive line had been a glaring recruiting weakness under Rich Ellerson. His final defensive line class that attended the United States Military Academy Prep School was probably his best. ArmySports.com will now look at the incoming defensive linemen.

New defensive coordinator Jay Bateman will have some young linemen with ability to rebuild his new 3-4 defensive scheme around.

Andrew McLean was the best defensive tackle last year at the United States Military Academy Prep School. He was one of the Black Knights earliest recruits in 2013. He was a three-year starter from Broomfield high school in Colorado. McLean (6-3, 240) was a First team All-State performer. His senior season was cut short when he suffered ACL injury which required surgery. Andrew fully recovered from the injury. He chose Army over offers from Air Force, Wyoming, Yale and Wofford. McLean was incorrectly listed as an offensive lineman on R-day. He plays defense and is too talented a defensive lineman to be moved to offense.

McLean was an impact defensive tackle at United States Military Academy Prep School last year. In the opener McLean helped limit RPI JV to a single touchdown. Against Gattaca he shutdown their running game and recorded a sack. In the Bridgeton Academy game he had a sack. He showed his ability to collapse the pocket against Valley Forge JC with 1 ½ sacks. In the battle against prep powerhouse Milford Academy he was in on seven tackles, posted 1 ½ sacks and had two quarterback pressures. The Delaware Gamecocks offensive line could not keep him out of the backfield.

McLean was a dominate player last season. He is probably the strongest player on the USMAPS team. He can easily bench press over 375 pounds and squats over 500 pounds. He plays with leverage, strength and has a nice first step off the ball. He moves well and is a handful to block one-on-one. He was used as a three technique defensive tackle but is strong enough to play either tackle spot or even nose tackle if he adds some weight. McLean can hold the point against the run and has a nonstop motor. I'll be surprised if he doesn't contribute early.

Mclean Highlights

Jason Nix was a starting defensive end at the United States Military Academy Prep School last fall Nix is a 6-1, 225 pound defensive end from Rockhurst high school in Missouri. Nix injured his hamstring his junior season causing him to miss most of the season and some of the junior summer camps. As a result he was an under-the-radar recruit despite his Division I ability and speed.

Nix helped the Black Knight defensive line overwhelm RPI JV in the first game last year. He had a sack and numerous pressures against Gattaca. He recorded a sack against Bridgeton Academy and was explosive coming off the edge. Nix was then injured and missed a few games. He was also incorrectly listed on R-Day as an offensive lineman. He is either a defensive tackle or more likely at the new rush linebacker spot in the new scheme. Nix's not the perfect fit at rush linebacker because while explosive he seems at times he's a little stiff and not very fluid. He is very fast for his size even if he has rather straight line speed. At one of the few combines he attended he ran a legitimate 4.7 forty yard dash, for comparison 4.66 was the fastest time recorded by a defensive end, and had a 33-inch vertical leap as reported by ESPN. I do think he has the athleticism to rush the passer. When he was healthy he did a very nice job getting up the field and creating pressure. Nix has talent and an excellent upside if he can find the right position on the defense.

Nix Highlights

Brennan Richmond was a starting defensive tackle at the United States Military Academy Prep School. Richmond played tight end and defensive end in 2012 at Riverside high school in Wisconsin. The 6-2, 230 pound lineman was a first-team All-City pick on defense. Richmond was a member of Riverside's basketball team and may also play basketball at Army.

Richmond was rotated between defensive tackle and defensive end last year at USMAPS. Richmond played well in victories over RPI JV and Gattaca as their lineman struggled to maintain their blocks against him. He had two sacks against Globe. He played well in shutting down Bridgeton Academy. In the win over Milford Academy he had eight tackles and 1 ½ sacks. He was injured late in the season and missed the NAPS game but he's healthy now.

Richmond had an impressive prep campaign as an unheralded recruit. He outplayed the more highly touted and much bigger Tiano Pupungatoa, a fellow defensive tackle from Wisconsin, who didn't make it to R-day. Richmond is athletic and he runs extremely well for his size. He plays hard and is able to disengage from blocks and pursue. It will be interesting to see where he plays. He was one of those hybrid quick end flex types the old defense used. He probably will get a look at Rush or SAM linebacker initially. He's a good athlete but I have no idea if he can drop into coverage. The strength and conditioning staff might just add twenty pounds to him and develop him as a defensive tackle.

Richmond Highlights

Dan Carlone was a 6-3, 230 pound defensive end last year at the United States Academy Prep School. He had been a hybrid defensive end and outside linebacker at St. Anthony's high school in Long Island, N.Y. He was a teammate of fellow prep offensive lineman Joe Tustin. Carlone was an All-league performer who made 92 tackles and posted eight sacks as a senior in 2012. With the new 3-4 defensive scheme he lacks an ideal position on the defensive line. He is a strong mobile player and was listed as an offensive lineman on the R-day list. I mentioned him as a possible tight end candidate. He is an athletic player who could be tried at offensive tackle, tight end or possibly add weight and play as a defensive tackle.



The lone direct admit defensive lineman is Joshua Boylan (6-1, 244) from the Lone star state of Texas. It’s interesting that he was listed on R-day as defensive lineman because he was more highly regarded as an offensive center. He was a four year starter at Grace Community School as an offensive center and defensive end. He was named first-team all-state team two consecutive seasons. Grace Community averaged nearly 500 yards per game with Josh at center. As a defensive end he was mobile and played with leverage. He showed the ability to shed blocks and use his hands well.

Boylan will be in the third generation in his family to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. His father Joe played football for the Black Knights. It will be interesting to see which side of the ball he ends up on. He has the frame to add some muscle and weight if he plays defensive tackle or nose tackle.

Boylan Highlights

Next: A look at the incoming linebackers

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