Nash up the the challenge of West Point

Army received a verbal commitment on New Year's eve from Jalen Nash, a defensive end/linebacker out of Huntersville (N.C.) SouthLake Christian Academy. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Nash selected Army over 11 D-1 offers including Boston College, Old Dominion, James Madison, Elon, and Gardner-Webb.

ArmySports.com spoke with the two-time NCISAA state champion on how he feels about joining the Black Knights.

"I called Coach (Ray) McCartney up New Year's eve and let him know I wanted to attend West Point," Nash said. "He was so excited. He told me that I was on the top of his list and that I made his night.

"I'm excited too. West Point is much more than the whole football thing. It's about academics, establishing yourself as a person, and a whole lot more. I'm looking at it as a 40 year decision that will affect the rest of my life and pave the way for a successful future.

"I have not been to campus yet but I'll be visiting on January 16th for an official visit. I did watch a lot of the games. When I saw the Army-Navy game it got me excited to be a part of that kind of crazy atmosphere."

SouthLake Christian Academy defeated Davidson Day on November 21st in Charlotte to claim the NCISAA Division II state championship. Nash was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Queen City Conference and made 118 tackles, 28 for loss, 14 sacks, and one interception as a senior to lead the Eagles to a 12-1 record.

"I was a four-year starter (at SouthLake Christian Academy)," he said. "I've played linebacker in the past but this year they moved me up to defensive line. It's a lot more physical in the trenches, but that's how I like it. When Coach Mac (of Army) was recruiting me he'd always talk about how physical of a player I am. He said that's what he needs at Army. And I feel like I have a lot of speed coming off the end to get around my guy to pressure the quarterback."

Many top programs in North Carolina and Virginia came calling for Nash and he entertained thee idea of staying close to home for college, but in the end felt like he had to be at West Point for the next four years.

"Army had the most to offer, in my opinion," said Nash. "Both of my parents are ecstatic about the whole situation. It's a big relief to finally have made my commitment. The recruiting process can get stressful at times in talking to all of the coaches. I'm going to enjoy this as much as possible and then get to work with preparation.

"The military is something that my family has been a part of and I'm happy to be a part of it too. It's going to be a challenge. I know that going in, but I think I can handle it."

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